Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Highlight: GST should be implemented in stages, says Dr M - The Edge Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR  (June 18): The goods and services Tax (GST), if implemented, should be done in stages, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

"Everything should be done in stages, slowly, not the full amount at the same time, for the benefit of the people," he told reporters at the Perdana Leadership Foundation CEO Forum 2013.

Economists opined that now was the right time to implement the GST as part of efforts to bolster government revenue.

Malaysian Rating Corp Bhd (MRCB) chief economist Nor Zahidi Alias had said while the government is seen to be stepping up implementation of the GST, he suggested that complementary measures be taken to protect low-income earners from its impact.

"Overall, having the GST is good. I think public relations work has to be done a little bit more on GST and the fact that we shouldn't be so idealistic by saying it won't cause inflation. It will," Nor Zahidi said.

On the government's target to further reduce the fiscal deficit in the 2014 budget, Dr Mahathir said that it was a good move and it showed that the government was moving forward positively.

Earlier, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced that the 2014 Budget will be tabled in Parliament on Oct 25.

Najib also announced the setting up of a Fiscal Policy Committee aimed at reducing fiscal deficit, strengthening public finances and ensuring the nation's long-term fiscal sustainability.

Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said he would chair the committee, which would include selected Cabinet ministers and heads of departments.

"This committee will be served by a fiscal policy office at the Treasury. This is to underline the seriousness in terms of managing our fiscal position and reducing our fiscal deficit," he said in his opening address at the 2014 Budget Consultation session.

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