Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has "reminded" former prime minister Najib Abdul Razak that it was the poor that stands to gain from the removal of the goods and services tax (GST) enacted during the latter's rule, as they had been "unfairly impacted" by the tax.
In a statement today, Lim was responding to a posting by the ousted leader which stated the rich would benefit the most from the new government's abolition of the GST and they could once more evade taxes.
"Najib added that money lost to the rich can no longer be used to help the poor in the B40 group. In attacking Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Najib hoped that the 'new Malaysia' isn't just for the rich and business people.
"Najib forgets that GST has impacted all Malaysians, particularly unfairly on the poor for the first time, when they never had to pay any taxes previously," Lim said.
In a posting yesterday, Najib had taken his successor, Mahathir, to task over the latter's announcement that the government would not be raising the salaries of civil servants, while minimum wage would be increased in stages.
The former BN chairperson claimed that the GST was implemented to help raise wages, adding "money lost to the rich can no longer be used to raise the salaries of civil servants and help the B40 group".
Lim also claimed in his statement today that the GST had posed such a heavy financial burden on the people that they had no choice but to vote out BN.
Otherwise, he said, GST would have continued and there would be no end to the people’s “economic distress”.
Now that the new government has zero-rated GST for three months, he said warnings from the opposition that the country would go bankrupt without GST did not materialise.
Not only did the country not go bankrupt, Lim said the new government has continued to provide BR1M which has been renamed as Bantuan Saraan Hidup (BSH).
The next BSH payment will be on Aug 15, a week before Hari Raya Aidiladha, he added.
This shows that Najib’s claims that the Pakatan Harapan government does not care about those in the lower economic class are untrue, Lim said.
Another way the new government has helped those in the bottom 40 percent of the economic class in Malaysia was through the stabilisation of petrol prices.
Despite the hike in global oil prices, the Harapan government has maintained fuel prices at RM2.20 and RM2.28 per litre for RON95 and diesel respectively, he said.
“Najib is, therefore, wrong to say that the GST is good or that the new government is not focused on assisting the B40 group,” Lim said.