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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Don’t talk GST, abolish cabotage first

If the federal and state governments were genuinely concerned about the young Sabahans and Sarawakians, they will liberalise and break-up the monopolistics GLCs.
KOTA KINABALU: The Sabah government must push the federal authorities to abolish the cabotage policy if it is committed in helping youths in the state get out of the rut and rat race.
Urging the government to “liberalise” the markets, newly minted Likas assemblyman Junz Wong said the authorities must “break-up the monopolistics GLCs”.
“Only way for youths to get out of the rat-race and earn higher income is to abolish cabotage policy and break up monopolistic government-linked corporations (GLCs).
“Allow normal people to take part in business economy buildings. Let “perfect competition” play its role, let “demand & supply” determine a fair price,” he said adding that this would in turn open up more opportunities for younger entrepreneurs.
Wong, who is also Sabah state DAP assistant secretary, was responding to a shocking disclosure by real estate consultants CH Williams & Talhar that 50% of employees in KK earned less than RM2,000 a month and are not able to buy the much touted government affordable houses at RM250,000.
According to the firm’s managing director Chong Choon Kim, these young people could only afford houses worth RM150,000 with a pay-back period of 30 years.
Picking up from Chong’s observation, Wong said the Musa Aman-led administration must restrategize its economic priorities.
“Sabah government must focus on industrialization, give priorities and funds to build down-stream businesses especially in Agricultural, Tourism, Oil & Gas industries.
“This way, it will create more employment opportunities for young professionals and more business opportunities for young entrepreneurs,” Wong said.
He said only if the markets were liberalised could young professionals see their incomes increase gradually.
“This will eventually help to close down the income gap between the rich and the poor and resolve long term problems,” he said.
‘No to GST’
On a related note, Wong also said that it was unfair to further burden Sabahans and Sarawakians with the goods and services tax (GST) when they had to contend with the cabotage policy and poor connectivity within the state which caused higher delivery and logistics cost.
He also argued that it was grossly “unfair” to compare Malaysia with Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia, where there was price uniformity.
“There is no uniformity in prices of goods sold in Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak. Practice one country, one price policy then cite Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia as example.
“Now it is extremely unfair to Sabah and Sarawak. GST means Sabahans will be paying higher taxes for a similar item bought compared to West Malaysians.
“Why should Sabahans and Sarawakians pay for higher taxes? We feel that the government is systematically discriminating the people of Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.
Wong pointed out that despite the Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s Price Uniformity Scheme and various initiatives, including an allocation of RM386 million transport subsidy to ensure the prices of essential goods in Sabah and Sarawak as well as in Labuan were lower, there was no reduction in prices of goods.
“That is totally unacceptable and it only proves how inefficient BN government is in implementing policies and dealing with Malaysians welfare” he said.

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