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Malaysia Today - Your Source of Independent News


Anwar's budget comments that of a populist: Idris

Posted: 25 Oct 2013 10:45 PM PDT

(Bernama) - Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim is a populist for saying that 2014 Budget, especially the implementation of Goods and Services Tax (GST), as punishment for the people.

Chief Minister Datuk Idris Haron said the opposition leader just wanted to get the attention of a handful of people without thinking about balancing the economy.

"The accusation is proof that he (Anwar) is a populist leader who only makes nice announcement in front of the people for personal gain without considering the effects on the future of the country," he told reporters after attending the 9th convocation of Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka (UTeM) in Durian Tunggal, here today.

Idris was commenting on a news portal report quoting Anwar as saying the budget tabled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak, especially the implementation of GST, as punishment for the people.

He said the decision to implement GST of 6 percent effective April 1, 2015 was the right move as the government has to find resources to balance the economy. This was necessary as the country's resources would decline by 2018 and the implementation of GST was the best way for the people to share the responsibility. 

 

I don't care about Dong Zong protest over school land: Nazri

Posted: 25 Oct 2013 10:41 PM PDT

(Bernama) - Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz has stressed that he did not care about the protest by the United Chinese School Committees Association of Malaysia (Dong Zong) on the land acquisition at Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan Cina (SJKC) Chin Woo.

"I don't care what they (Dong Zong) think...I only take into account what is decided by the Chin Woo school board members. If the members of the board agree, I agree. If Dong Zong, I don't care about them," he told reporters after launching a 1Malaysia Reading Carnival here today.

In July, the ministry intended to acquire land in the school in Pudu to build a culture village through the RM32.5 million Kuala Lumpur Heritage City project. However, the decision was opposed by numerous parties, especially parents, as the land was being used as a basketball court since 1938.

On the encouragement to read books in conjunction with the two-day carnival, beginning today, Mohamed Nazri targeted that every Malaysian read 20 books this year.

He said a study in 2005 indicated that Malaysians read two books while a study by Prof Atan Long in 1996, revealed that Malaysians read two pages a year.  

 

Christian body decries Herald seizure as rights violation

Posted: 25 Oct 2013 05:37 PM PDT

(MM) - Putrajaya's alleged seizure of copies of The Herald in Sabah is a violation of the church's right to distribute the newsletter to its own members, a Christian umbrella body said today in protest against the latest incident in the "Allah" controversy.

Council of Churches (CCM) general secretary Rev Hermen Shastri said if the ministry had indeed ordered for the 2,000 copies to be withheld without any acceptable grounds for doing so, the group would "definitely" voice its objection.

"This is shocking. It is unacceptable. It is a denial of rights of the church to distribute its newsletter, which is meant for its own members.

"If there are no grounds (for the ministry's order), we will definitely strongly protest," Hermen told The Malay Mail Online here, adding that they will wait for further information from the Catholic Church on the issue.

According to Herald editor Fr Lawrence Andrew this afternoon, around 2,000 copies of the weekly publication were seized at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) on Thursday, apparently on order of the Home Ministry.

"The consignment arrived at 2.54pm on Thursday, and it was checked by KDN officials as the usual practice," he told The Malay Mail Online, referring to the Home Ministry's Malay acronym.

"The forwarding company were however told not to release the consignment. The company checked again on Friday at 10am, and were told that the consignment has been withheld. No reason was given," Lawrence added.

The priest said that as of now, there is still no news as to the status of the consignment, which was supposed to have been distributed to churches in the Kota Kinabalu and Keningau dioceses.

The distribution ban is the latest incident to hit the controversial tussle between the Catholic Church and the government over the use of the word "Allah".

Earlier this month, the Court of Appeal ruled that the Home Ministry's decision to ban the use of the word in the Herald was justified, as the use of the word "Allah" was not integral to the practice of the Christian faith.

The ruling - which overturned an earlier High Court decision that the ban was unconstitutional - has since sparked confusion over the use of the word by Christians in their worship, especially with conflicting opinions within the government itself on how far the ruling would affect practicing Christians.

Churches in Sabah and Sarawak, however, have said that they will continue their age-old practice of referring to God as "Allah" in their worship and in their holy scriptures.

Several ministers also said recently that the 10-point solution issued by Putrajaya in 2011 - which allows the printing, importation and distribution of the Al-Kitab, the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Christian bible, containing the word "Allah" - should stand, despite the appellate court ruling.

The Najib administration issued the 10-point solution shortly before the Sarawak state election in 2011 to end a Home Ministry blockade of shipments of Christian holy scriptures in the Malay language containing the word "Allah".

The Cabinet, through Minister Datuk Seri Idris Jala, had stated in the resolution that the large Bumiputera Christian population in Sabah and Sarawak could use their holy books in the Malay, Indonesian, and indigenous languages.

Datuk Seri Panglima Dr Maximus Ongkili, the energy, green technology and water minister, said last Wednesday that the Court of Appeal's verdict should, "in no way", affect the 10-point solution.

Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Joseph Kurup also reportedly said recently that the Cabinet has decided to stick to the 10-point solution.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar and de facto law minister Nancy Shukri have said that the court ruling was restricted to the Herald.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak also said previously that the ruling would not affect Sabah and Sarawak, while separately another Cabinet minister claimed that Christians from the Borneo states could also use the word in peninsula Malaysia.

They were silent, however, on whether the Herald ruling meant the publication could be distributed in Sabah and Sarawak.

According to a 2010 census, Muslims are Malaysia's largest religious group, followed by Buddhists. Christians are the third-largest at 2.6 million, which comes up to about 10 per cent of the entire Malaysian population.

Bumiputera Christians, who form about 64 per cent or close to two-thirds of the Christian community in Malaysia, have used the word "Allah" when praying and speaking in the national language and their native tongues for centuries. 

 

Gerakan: Mah Siew Keong is the new party president

Posted: 25 Oct 2013 05:32 PM PDT

(The Star) - Datuk Mah Siew Keong was chosen as Gerakan's new president at the party's 42nd National Delegates Conference 2013 on Saturday.

The deputy post was retained by Cheah Soon Hai.

The three vice-president posts were won by Asharuddin Ahmad, A. Kohilan Pillai and Teo Eng Twe.

Gerakan acting secretary-general Datuk Mah Siew Keong went up against the party's Penang chairman Datuk Teng Chang Yeow in a straight fight for the president post.

The post was vacated after acting president Datuk Chang Ko Youn, who had led the party since last May, declined to defend his post to pave the way for younger leaders to helm the party.

Mah is 52 years old while Teng is 49.

Mah is a former MP of Teluk Intan (1999-2008), a former deputy minister and former Gerakan Youth chief (2002-2008).

He assumed responsibility as party acting secretary-general on May 11 following Teng's resignation as the party secretary-general and Barisan Nasional (BN) Penang chairman.

Meanwhile, 39 candidates vied for the 18 Central Committee positions.

A total of 2,298 national delegates voted in this year's party elections.

 

Copies of Herald seized at KK airport

Posted: 25 Oct 2013 05:21 PM PDT

(MM) - The Home Ministry has allegedly barred the distribution of Catholic weekly the Herald in Sabah, despite earlier assurances by the government that there was no ban on the use of the word "Allah" in the East Malaysian state.

According to Herald editor Fr Lawrence Andrew, around 2,000 copies of the weekly publication were seized at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) on Thursday, apparently on order of the Home Ministry.

"The consignment arrived at 2.54pm on Thursday, and it was checked by KDN officials as the usual practice," he told The Malay Mail Online, referring to the Home Ministry's Malay acronym.

"The forwarding company were however told not to release the consignment. The company checked again on Friday at 10am, and were told that the consignment has been withheld. No reason was given," Lawrence added.

The priest said that as of now, there is still no news as to the status of the consignment, which was supposed to have been distributed to churches in the Kota Kinabalu and Keningau dioceses.

When contacted, however, deputy home minister Datuk Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said he had no knowledge of the seizure.

The ban on distribution is the latest incident to hit the controversial tussle between the Catholic Church and the government over the use of the word "Allah".

Earlier this month, the Court of Appeal ruled that the Home Ministry's decision to ban the use of the word in the Herald was justified, as the use of the word "Allah" was not integral to the practice of the Christian faith.

The ruling — which overturned an earlier High Court decision that the ban was unconstitutional — has since sparked confusion over the use of the word by Christians in their worship, especially with conflicting opinions within the government itself on how far the ruling would affect practising Christians.

Churches in Sabah and Sarawak, however, have said they will continue their age-old practice of referring to God as "Allah" in their worship and in their holy scriptures.

Several ministers also said recently that the 10-point solution issued by Putrajaya in 2011 — which allows the printing, importation and distribution of the Al-Kitab, the Bahasa Malaysia version of the Christian bible, containing the word "Allah" — should stand, despite the appellate court ruling.

According to a 2010 census, Muslims are Malaysia's largest religious group, followed by Buddhists. Christians are the third-largest at 2.6 million, which comes up to about 10 per cent of the Malaysian population.

Bumiputera Christians, who form about 64 per cent or close to two-thirds of the Christian community in Malaysia, have used the word "Allah" when praying and speaking in the national language and their native tongues for centuries. 

 

We are Malaysians, Gerakan tells Perkasa

Posted: 25 Oct 2013 05:16 PM PDT

Gerakan acting president Chang Ko Youn also tells Barisan Nasional (BN) to fight extremism and stop punishing the 51% voters who voted against the ruling coalition at the last general election.

Leven Woon, FMT

Lashing out at Perkasa for its extremism, outgoing Gerakan acting president Chang Ko Youn today called on the BN not to take 'revenge' on the 51% voters who voted against the ruling government at the May general election.

In his keynote address at the 42nd Gerakan national delegates conference today, Chang also trained his guns at the Malay rights group Perkasa, led by firebrand Ibrahim Ali.

He said Ibrahim has undermined the spirit of 'Merdeka' and interracial relationship through his statements.

"It is most unfortunate that extremists like Perkasa gleefully challenge the non-Bumiputeras to either return to their ancestral lands or migrate to a third country.

"Let me make it clear, in front of all of you today, that we are all Malaysians and no Malaysian will ever have to leave this country simply because he does not agree with any policy or approach.

"We are all Malaysians, citizens of this nation, and no one can take that away from us," he told some 2,000 Gerakan members at the conference. Prime Minister and Umno president Najib Tun Razak was the guest of honour of the delegates conference.

Chang also urged BN to fight extremism internally, as how it does internationally, and to ensure equal protection and application of the law on those who threaten the country's peace and stability.

At the media conference later, Chang equalled Perkasa to the right-wing Tea Party in the US and said Gerakan was pushing for BN to condemn the NGO.

Asked about Najib's lack of action against Perkasa for its offensive remarks, Chang said he was not sure if Najib had indeed criticised Perkasa before, but he "definitely does not endorse the statements".

Don't punish the 51%

On a separate matter, the former Perak executive councillor also urged BN not to punish the 51% of voters who deserted BN in the 13th General Election.

"BN and its component parties must not thrive in the fault lines of politics rather show humility in victory and accept that a new way is needed within BN as well.

"A new thinking must support that new way and the new thinking must encapsulate the hopes and aspirations of all Malaysians for clean, fair, just and inclusive government," he said.

He said the failure by the BN to change will lead to its self-destruction, because its shortcomings will endear its supporters to cross to the opposition.

He said an in-depth analysis of BN's victory in the 13th General Elections (GE13) shows that BN only won the federal administration with a margin of 44 seats with a combined majority of 25, 968 votes.

BN captured 133 while Pakatan Rakyat bagged 89 seats in the GE battle.

"Hence, we should not take our victory in GE13 for granted because it was a lot closer than many of us realise because 12,985 Malaysians voting the other way could have changed the results," he said.

READ MORE HERE

 

Malaysia bans Ke$ha concert over religious fears

Posted: 25 Oct 2013 03:24 PM PDT

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(AFP) - US pop singer Ke$ha has been forced to cancel a concert due to take place in Muslim-majority Malaysia on Saturday after authorities said it would undermine religious and cultural sensitivities.

"We are distraught to confirm that the show (at Kuala Lumpur stadium) will be cancelled," concert organiser Livescape said in a statement, adding that it was losing 1.1 million ringgit ($350,000) due to ban.

Livescape said it had received a letter from the authorities on the decision to ban the concert "at the 11th hour" on Friday, despite agreeing to "modify the show to suit the Malaysian culture and sensitivities".

The Ministry of Communications and Multimedia said in a brief statement Friday that it had rejected the application for the concert on grounds that it "touches on religious sensitivities and cultural values of Malaysians".

Ke$ha's MTV reality series 'My Crazy Beautiful Life' has featured her bizarre behaviour in the past, including drinking her own urine.

Some of her songs refer to sex and alcohol, which are considered taboo subjects by most Muslims.

Livescape said it had made adjustments to Ke$ha's song lyrics, wardrobe changes, and had modified a set list to specifically adhere to the guidelines set forth by the authorities.

Last month, Malaysia pulled the plug on a planned concert by US heavy metal group Lamb of God after Islamic authorities declared the band's music religiously offensive.

To avoid business risks and similar bans, Livescape said: "We encourage the authorities to engage in a productive dialogue with local promoters to avoid the current situation from repeating."

Muslims make up 60 percent of multi-ethnic Malaysia's 28 million people, while Christians account for about nine percent.

Malaysia is known for its relatively moderate version of Islam.

But conservatives occasionally cry foul over concerts by Western artists whom they accuse of promoting promiscuity, corrupting young people or offending religious sensitivities, though most concerts usually go ahead.

Music superstar Beyonce has twice cancelled shows in Malaysia amid criticism of her image, while American singer Erykah Badu had a concert cancelled by authorities last year after a photo appeared showing her with the Arabic word for "Allah" painted on her body.

Najib: BN ‘victims of own success’

Posted: 25 Oct 2013 03:19 PM PDT

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Barisan Nasional president Najib Tun Razak assured Gerakan that its losses in Penang are a sign of BN's successful policies which brought "changes to mind, atitudes and values" of the younger generation. 

Anisah Shukry, FMT 

Barisan Nasional was a "victim of its own success" in the past two general elections, Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak told its embattled component party partner, Gerakan today.

In a bid to console the party after its bitter showing in the May 5 polls, Najib said:  "With our successes, we developed this country not just physically, but in terms of human capital and intellectual development.

"This has brought changes to the minds, attitudes and values of society today, especially the younger generation…

"Thus we have become a victims of our own success. And we must change.

"I have initiated this process by introducing the concept of transformative leadership in the government and in the party."

Najib, who was speaking to delegates at the 42nd  Gerakan National Delegates Conference, attributed the growing support for the Opposition to BN's success in allegedly developing the minds of the younger generation.

Gerakan suffered an embarrassing defeat at the May 5 polls when only one of the 11 candidates it fielded for a Parliamentary seat managed to win. Out of its 21 candidates contesting for state seats, only three emerged victorious.

The party also failed to wrest its former stronghold, Penang, from the DAP.

However, Najib said today the loss was not Gerakan's fault, insisting again that it was a sign of BN's "success".

"Gerakan's political base, Penang, was a beacon of light. The Gerakan state government developed Penang into a state not only famous for its tourism, but for becoming a magnet for foreign direct investment during the 70's," said Najib.

"This success has resulted in the situation today, where, ironically, Penang has become a challenge for us (to win back), not because of our failures, but because of the successes of the BN parties' policies."

Najib said that BN would continue to reject communal politics and maintain a "moderate, progressive, centrist, inclusive and fair stance", to win back support for the ruling coalition.

He also stressed that the BN parties had room to improve and must adapt to the changing political landscape so as to be seen as a relevant, vibrant and reflective of the voice of the younger generation.

"Most of our problem lies with our ability to communicate, about selling what we are doing to the people," he added, claiming that the Opposition coalition had managed to hoodwink the rakyat with their untruths.

"Why is a lie being swallowed wholesomely? I am looking into this… is it a problem of trust deficit? Are they trusting the opposition more than BN? Those are the questions and we have to find the solution."

READ MORE HERE 

 

Now, Health Minister and Deputy Prime Minister disagree on cause of diabetes

Posted: 25 Oct 2013 03:17 PM PDT

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(TMI) - The Deputy Prime Minister and the Health Minister are not on the same page when it comes to what causes diabetes.

While Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (pic) used former Kedah Menteri Besar Tan Sri Azizan as an example to justify the ending of the sugar subsidy, Dr S. Subramaniam said sugar intake alone is not the primary cause of diabetes.

Azizan was a diabetic and had both his legs amputated immediately after the May 5 general election because of infection brought about by diabetes.

The Sungai Limau assemblyman subsequently died of a heart attack on September 26.

"The problem with Malaysia is we're prosperous," said Muhyiddin.

"Those who died are destined by Allah, but in this world, many are eating a lot at the same time taking a lot of sugar, until... I don't have to elaborate much about the late Azizan.

"Because of this (consuming sugar), he is forced to go through the process where his legs had to be amputated," Muhyiddin was reported as saying by the Malaysiakini news portal today.

Malaysiakini reported that he made the remarks to some 1,500 people at the SMK Sungai Limau for a meet-the-people session today as part of the by-election campaign.

The Sungai Limau by-election is being called following the death of Azizan, a five-term Sungai Limau assemblyman.

In the by-election on November 4, BN's Dr Ahmad Sohaimi Lazim will face PAS candidate Mohd Azam Abdul Samad in a straight fight.

This morning, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Subramaniam (pic) said diabetes in the country is not a product of just sugar consumption but noted that uncontrolled sugar intake can cause chronic diabetes and obesity.

Dr Subramaniam said in terms of science and nutrition, it was not compulsory to add sugar in one's daily food intake.

"Sugar intake is a culture in the country, but we have to know that is not a necessity as it is not a need like rice or petrol.

"If a diabetic were to go see a doctor who gives this advice, they would definitely reduce sugar intake from their daily diet," he said in a press conference after attending the National Clinical Immunology Symposium in Kuala Lumpur today.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, in his 2014 Budget announcement yesterday, said 2.6 million Malaysians under the age of 30 were diabetic patients. Najib said the 34 sen subsidy per kilogram for sugar will be abolished from today, pushing the price to RM2.84 per kg. 

READ MORE HERE 

 

Unfinished slaughtering

Posted: 25 Oct 2013 10:57 AM PDT

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(National Express Malaysia) - Saravanan is bemused on why police were looking for him when they should press charges of criminal intimidating and sedition on Papa Gomo and his blog commentators. "It's as if non-Muslims have no right to defend their religious rights and sensitivities in Malaysia.

Saravanan, who had a heated argument with a school headmaster over slaughtering of cows in school compound, is ready to meet the police over the issue, albeit one condition. He demands the police took stern action on "racist" blogger Papa Gomo and his fans for instigating religious and racial hatred and issuing death threats to him on the issue. Saravanan said the police shall not practise double standards by going after him while Papa Gomo and his fans go scot-free. 

Anyway Saravanan, who claims to be based in an unnamed foreign country, said he was shocked to learn that the police was looking for him for questioning over his argument with the headmaster. "I have said nothing bad about other religions or uttered anything seditious. "I had only questioned the headmaster on whether the education ministry had allowed the cow slaughtering to take place in his school. "I don't understand why the police are after me over baseless seditious allegations," he said here today. Saravanan had the heated chat with the headmaster on Oct 16 on the same day when cows were freely slaughtered in the primary school compound in conjunction with Muslim Hari Raya Aidil Adha festival. 

Saravanan had promptly posted the recorded audio clip of his conversation with the headmaster. In the audio recording, Saravanan was heard questioning the headmaster on whether he had permission from the education ministry to slaughter cows in school. He also challenged the headmaster to produce a documented proof to show that cow slaughtering was allowed under the ministry's rules and regulations, which the school head could not. Headmaster trying to justify that it was Muslim religious obligations to slaughter cows and that he had received consent from all teachers including Indian and Chinese staff. Saravanan then questioned on pigs can be slaughtered in schools during Chinese festivals, to which the headmaster claimed non-Muslim religious activities were disallowed in schools. 

Saravanan removed the audio posting, which drew many commentators criticising the headmaster, after a day. However, what appeared to be an inoffensive posting took a ugly turn when blogger Papa Gomo apparently downloaded Saravanan's audio recording and posted in his blog. Papa Gomo also remarked: "Memang kurang ajar Keling DAP ni. Elok sembelih je haramjadah ni.Sampai bila Umat Islam nak bersatu? Ni tanah air kita tempat kita bukan tempat pendatang!!!!" Papa Gomo posting drew some 3524 comments, in which majority issued threats to Saravanan and verbally him and Hindu community in general. Following a report lodged by Perkasa Johor, police have said they were locating Saravanan for questioning. 

The case has been classified as seditious. Saravanan is bemused on why police were looking for him when they should press charges of criminal intimidating and sedition on Papa Gomo and his blog commentators. "It's as if non-Muslims have no right to defend their religious rights and sensitivities in Malaysia. "I don't mind meeting the police but they must take action on Papa Gomo and his followers. "They are threatening me and abusing me with racist remarks. "Why pick on me when I have done nothing wrong?" asked Saravanan. Slaughtering of cows in schools have drawn criticisms from non-Muslims parents, social commentators and Malaysian Consultative Council of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Sikhism and Taoism (MCCBCHST) due to religious insensitivity, especially to Hindus. 

 

DPM: GST will boost the economy

Posted: 25 Oct 2013 10:19 AM PDT

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Muhyiddin Yassin and other ministers say the government conducted a thorough study before calling for its implementation.

G Vinod, FMT

Deputy Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin lauded his boss Najib Tun Razak's firm stand in implementing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) despite objections from many quarters.

"Remember, it's not an additional tax. We are removing the Sales and Services Tax and replacing it with the GST," said Muhyiddin, at a press conference after the budget speech at Parliament.

Earlier, Najib announced that the government would introduce the GST on 1st April 2015, starting at a 6% rate.

The new tax system would replace the Sales and Services Tax, which the government claimed is flawed as it involves double taxation to the masses.

Muhyiddin said the rakyat need not worry about the GST as goods such as rice, sugar, flour and other essential items would be exempted from the new tax.

He said that the government had conducted a thorough study on the matter.

Commenting on a separate issue, he said that the additional funds allocated under the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) would help ease the rakyat's burden.

"In addition, the government will also restructure the income and corporate tax with the coming of GST. Personal income tax will be reduced between 1 to 3 percentage points," said the Pagoh MP.

Whether the government would compel employers to raise wages post GST, Muhyiddin replied in the negative saying there was no law to compel employers to do so.

"We leave [it] to the employers' discretion. We cannot force them as there are no laws to do so. But we think that should not be the case as it will be a burden to the employers," he said.

Bold moves

Summarising his views on the budget as a whole, Muhyddin said that the budget would further strengthen the nation's economy and improve Malaysia's sovereign rating.

"The bold moves initiated in the budget will give confidence to both domestic and international investors to our nation.

"In the long run, the people will benefit from all this," he said.

Second Finance Minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah commented that the GST may cause inflationary pressure on some sectors in the initial stage, but the impact would be minimum.

"We have studied the matter thoroughly. The effect will be minimum. Besides, essential goods are exempted from GST," he said.

Husni also said that his ministry had conducted a thorough study on how to implement the GST, from nations who are already imposing the tax system in their respective countries.

Whether 6% is good start for the GST, Husni said, " We feel it is the right figure. It will benefit the government and the people."

When asked whether the new 30% rate for Real Properties Gains Tax (RPGT) would affect the property market, Husni said the government felt the rate was reasonable.

"We will have to wait and see. There are lots of speculative activity in the property market but we feel 30% is reasonable," said the minister.

FMT were also able to get the response of other Barisan Nasional leaders regarding Budget 2014:

READ MORE HERE 

 

GST targets a bigger group but poor hit most, say economists

Posted: 25 Oct 2013 10:13 AM PDT

Trinna Leong, TMI 

Putrajaya's decision to finally introduce the Goods and Services Tax (GST) is a regressive move that would largely hurt poor and debt-ridden Malaysians, say economists.

While they lauded the government's move to abolish the Sales and Services Tax (SST) for the GST, the economists argued that the consumption tax of 6% effective April 1, 2015 would in fact do more harm than good in the long run.

"This is a regressive tax where the poor would be taxed more than the rich," said Lim Mah Hui, from the Socio-economic and Environment Research Institute (SERI).

The lower income group would have to fork out a bigger chunk of their wages in terms of percentage compared with the rich, forcing the poor to pay a bigger percentage margin to the government in the form of the GST, he told The Malaysian Insider.

But Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said during his Budget 2014 speech yesterday the GST would be a "fair and comprehensive tax system that would benefit all Malaysians".

"More than 160 countries have already implemented the GST. This clearly demonstrates that GST is proven to be a transparent, effective and fair tax system," said Najib, who is also the Finance Minister.

"The vast majority of nations in the world would not have implemented GST if it is disadvantageous to the people and the country," he added.

Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said after Najib's budget speech that the lower income group would not be burdened.

"The effect to this group is neutral," he told a press conference in Parliament.

Economists said that a low income household earning roughly RM1,800 a month would have to spend more of their pay for necessities, a fact which Bank Negara noted in its Outlook and Policy 2013 report on the BR1M.

The report mentioned that based on analysis, "lower income households are more sensitive to income shocks" and that the poor "tend to have lower savings as most of their expenditures are for necessities".

By pushing forward with the GST, the government would reinforce investor confidence but burden the people in the long run.

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With a definite GST rate, the market would receive it positively," said Edward Lee, regional chief economist at Standard Chartered.

Influential former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had said earlier this year that the GST should be implemented in stages.

"Everything should be done in stages, slowly, not the full amount at the same time, for the benefit of the people," he said during the Perdana Leadership Foundation CEO Forum in June.

Institut Rakyat economist Azrul Azwar Ahmad Tajudin said Putrajaya deserved credit for abolishing the SST instead of running the taxes in parallel but added that the government needed to ensure that it can enforce the GST effectively.

READ MORE HERE 

 

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