KOTA KINABALU : “The people of Sabah and Sarawak should be exempted from the Goods and Services Tax (GST) that appears imminently to be implemented by the BN Federal government at any time,” said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, STAR Sabah Chief, in a press statement released yesterday.
Foremost, the PM need to practise what he says and start implementing his transparency programs by stop 'testing the people' by using mouthpieces for feedbacks on the intended GST implementation.
The BN government should stop beating round the bush and just plainly say that it needs to raise another RM27 billion from GST, which is the equivalent to about RM1,000 per person per year, to cover the ballooning national debt which have been increased partly by the various Santa Clause programs to fish for votes in the recent general elections.
The BN government should not treat the people as fools anymore. People can understand the need to increase revenue to cover the national debt but whether the need to tax and burden the people is another matter all together.
The government should pay attention to reduction of economic leakages and to wipe out corruption which is probably the biggest cause for any unjustified increase in the national debt.
As for the GST itself, the federal government should exempt Sabah and Sarawak from its implementation. The GST will burden Sabahans and Sarawakians who are already poor.
Sabah and Sarawak are more than justified in being exempted from the GST implementation.
Firstly, Sabah and Sarawak, both with riches and wealth have been robbed and are now suffering from being made the two poorest states in Malaysia.
In 2012, RM17.88 billion in oil revenue were siphoned by Petronas from Sabah and another RM35 billion from Sarawak. Sabah lost another RM24 billion in federal taxes and revenues collected from the state.
Secondly, the crippling cabotage policy is not only increasing the living costs of Sabahans but is stifling Sabah’s economy and making Sabah an uncompetitive investment destination. Thus, depriving our youths of further job opportunities.
If the PM is serious with his “Rakyat DiDahulukan” slogan, the PM should immediately abolish the cabotage policy. There is no two way with it. Yet, the federal and state governments are deaf to the pleas of the people to have the cabotage policy abolished.
Thirdly, rural Sabahans and Sarawakians have low household incomes and this is even made worse by the federal government’s minimum salary level which has fixed a lower minimum of RM900 for Sabah and Sarawak and discriminates against them compared to West Malaysians with a threshold level of RM1,000.
Last but not least, instead of imposing the GST on Sabah and Sarawak, the PM should stop the marginalization of Sabahans and Sarawakians and implement programs in both states to increase the income levels and improve their livelihoods, consistent with his “Rakyat DiDahulukan” slogan.
If the PM fails to exempt Sabah and Sarawak from the GST implementation, he should be wary of the consequences of being the last Umno Prime Minister.
The people in Sabah and Sarawak have awoken to the concept of Sabah and Sarawak being the kingmakers and can topple the BN federal government at any time. This “kingmaker” role and leverage can be seen in the increased composition of Sabah and Sarawak lawmakers in the new Cabinet and demands for more.
“I will personally be meeting further with Sabah and Sarawak leaders and work on bringing this kingmaker role to the next level. We need to work towards the restoration of our rights and autonomy if it means toppling the current BN regime” concluded Dr. Jeffrey.