Friday, May 18, 2018

GST Zero-rated wef June 01

A young boy poses with a poster asking for the GST to be abolished during a May Day rally in Kuala Lumpur on May 1, 2014. Image credit: The Star Online, May 16, 2018

The decision has been made. Goods and services subject to GST will be zero-rated from June 01, 2018. 

This means that May 31 is the last day of GST in Malaysia. 

In other words, consumers will not be charged GST and suppliers will also not have to bear this consumption tax. 

Therefore, the price of goods and services must come down by 6% or more after it is zero-rated. 

Registered businesses are still subject to all current regulations such as issuing tax invoices, submitting tax statements and claiming input tax credit. 

As an additional note, PM Mahathir Mohamad had declared that the government will need to bring back sales tax to replace GST. 

This zero-rating move by the government is of course, pretty much transitional. It allows the PH government to fulfill its promise to remove GST immediately without too much business disruption. And also affording the government more time to plan and reintroduce the sales and services tax. 

The real issue behind this GST ‘correction’ is to see an immediate reduction of the GST portion that is affixed to the price of goods and services. 

Of course, the government will need to look at some sort of mechanism to ensure that prices actually do come down. And stays down. 

That is the rakyat’s expectation no less. 

Pakatan Harapan has now delivered one of their key election promises! 

Electoral watchdog group Bersih 2.0 has demanded the immediate resignation of all seven Election Commissioners, charging them with 278 violations during GE14. 

Executive director Yap Swee Seng said they are also seeking to charge the commissioners and some election officers for breaking the law leading up to and during GE14.

The 278 violations are based on the number of complaints or reports made to Bersih during the election. These include 62 cases of wrongly-labelled state and Parliament ballot boxes, 37 cases of officers refusing to properly cross names off the electoral roll, and 36 cases of impersonation or phantom voters, among others. 

Bersih advocacy and education officer Zoe Randhawa spoke of instances where vote buying occurred in Sabah. 

“Cash amounting to RM200 and sometimes more were handed out to voters in Keningau, Tawau and Pensiangan by BN. In Keningau it was passed off as travel allowance”, she said.  
Other cases included biased behaviour by election officials and workers at the polling stations who instructed elderly or disabled voters who they should vote for, ballot papers at 16 schools that were without markings, stamp or serial numbers, and difficulties faced by some in accessing polling stations. 

I had read a news report in The Sun today that says polls watchdog Bersih 2.0 are willing to help set up an effective Election Commission. 

I agree because they have the relevant expertise to contribute to electoral reforms which are badly needed. 

Plus the need to place the EC under parliamentary scrutiny – and making the appointments of their members subject to the legislative body’s approval. 

As a first step, the EC chairperson Hashim Abdullah (left) should be sacked. Now.

And once this is done, the  Election Commission  actually, they should be rightfully labelled Election Cheats – should be held fully accountable for all their misdeeds during GE14. 

Only then can the EC engage with civil society and begin the much-needed reforms.

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