Malaysia is a land of controversy. There is tension in the air all the time. At any time, one can list a few things that threaten the stability of the nation. Financial scandals, corruption, race, religion, language, crime or even simple management of things like education, justice and public utilities are our daily subjects of concern and unhappiness. Even truth among the official sources is a scarce commodity. Sometimes not knowing the truth is better. Considering all the tragedies and bad news that have inflicted the nation so far, the continued rule by BN is really a bad omen for the country.
The Sun is the only 30 sen newspaper I can afford to read. It is an addiction I have cultivated over the years. Though news about the government and politicians in Malaysia is something that can spoil the day but fear of police and the lopsided application of the law compel me to be in the know and be careful because it is easy to get into trouble.
For example, reading the news items featured in page 12 on Thursday, March 24, 2015 was worrying and thought provoking.
A simple thing like implementing GST, which is functioning very well in more than 160 countries, is mired with controversy in Malaysia. With the implementation already in place, nobody can give a clear direction. Different professionals and sectors of economy and society have differing visions of what is happening.
From the time GST was first mentioned and now April as the month when it starts, we have been taken for a ride of fear to the unknown. The amount of money wasted in the campaign to inform or educate the people about GST is more than enough to build a few hospitals or schools in the country. We saw billboards glorifying GST, professionals conducting courses and many other costly campaigns. The pandemonium at the custom’s HQ at Kelana Jaya and other places are clear indication of the failure. PDRM has once again come to the rescue of the government by using unnecessary force on tax payers, who are worried sick about breaking the laws that are involved with GST, when it is implemented.
Malaysians have become like the six blind men figuring out what the elephant named GST looks like. From all the courses held, the messages are different. A simple survey of opinions will show the differing views about GST, after these enlightenment courses. Many cautioned that ‘be careful what one declares in the GST’, because it could be a trap to compare any under declarations in the past income taxes.
Others give conflicting and ridiculous information like there is no GST for smaller dosage of some medicines while higher dosages involve GST. Also some say that for some medical brand names there is no GST while others have GST. Only Toyota says their cars will be cheaper. There is this pre GST frenzy of buying, even I changed by car in fear of high cost with GST.
Anyone with an iota of commonsense would have used one of the 160 countries as a model to implement GST. A simple reading about GST will show how GST is being implemented in other countries. There are countries where GST has been maintained at 3% for many years. Malaysia beginning at 6%, is very high. Our fear that the country’s economic mess especially IMDB, and over inflated purchases and corruption is going to hit the people even harder. Malaysians cannot afford BN government anymore.
With so much of mess and uncertainty, it would be a good idea to stagger or make the implementation by sectors and stages. For example in April only electrical goods be subjected to GST, May transport sector, June food basket and so on.
The impact and results can be studied.