SHAH ALAM,]— The federal Opposition will gradually repeal the controversial Goods and Services Tax (GST) if it is elected into power, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.
Although previously calling the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) “bribery”, the former prime minister and chairman of Parti Pribumi Malaysia also said a Pakatan Harapan government would convert the cash handouts into statutory aid.
“GST will be abolished gradually and replaced with a sales tax according to the people’s will,” he said in his speech at PPBM’s launch here, without elaborating further.
Even before he could finish his remark on the GST’s abolishment, the red-clad crowd erupted into loud cheers of “Hidup Tun!” (long live Tun) as soon as they heard the word “abolished”.
The cheers were more subdued, however, when he repeated his words and completed his remark.
Dr Mahathir also declared that PPBM along with other Opposition parties would form a “clean” government—especially in terms of elections—with various reforms to be carried out.
He said this new government would ensure that no bribes would be given out in any form to voters to gain support during elections.
“If it is found that BR1M is important, then this money will be distributed by government servants. BR1M cannot be included in any party’s’ manifesto.
“If it is agreed by the people, BR1M will become a statutory aid that is determined by laws and ordinary budget. The prime minister cannot determine its distribution or the amount, or the way it is given,” he added.
Dr Mahathir said aid will be given to those who are poor, regardless of whether they support the coalition government formed by the current federal Opposition.
In his speech that lasted over an hour, Dr Mahathir also recited a long list of things that voters can expect if the federal Opposition takes over
Putrajaya, including respect for political freedom, the upholding of press freedom and freedom of speech, legal enforcement that is not selective in nature, and the invention of a more effective way to defend the ringgit without depleting the country’s foreign exchange reserves.
GST was introduced in April 2015 at a rate of six per cent as a broad-based consumption tax to replace the Sales and Services Tax, while the government had introduced BR1M in 2012 with a one-off handout of RM500 to each household earning below RM3,000 monthly.
The BR1M scheme has since then turned into a yearly affair, with the Barisan Nasional’s Election 2013 manifesto promising to gradually bump up the aid to hit RM1,200 and RM500 by 2018 respectively for households with monthly wages below RM3,000 and single adults with monthly wages below RM2,000.
The government has defended the BR1M scheme as a targeted subsidy for those that truly need such aid, pointing out that the fuel subsidies it had scrapped along the way is a blanket subsidy that would benefit even the rich.
– Malay Mail