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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Anwar: I never said I am against GST in principle


Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim said he has never, in principle, disagreed with the goods and services tax (GST), even saying that this tax system is more efficient and transparent.

NONEHowever, he said, implementing the GST must be contingent upon the reduction of government deficit, elimination of corruption in the government system and also, the elevation of livelihood for regular Malaysians.

“I have been very consistent with my statements,” he said.

However, he added, the GST would not be the top priority for the Pakatan Rakyat should it win federal power as it would focus on eliminating corruption and improving the quality of life for the people.

“Corruption and the deficit situation will take five to eight years to address,” the PKR de factor leader said.

Anwar was referring to recent media reports that he said claimed he was changing his stance on the GST, after initially having pledged to fight its implementation by the government. 

He said that the idea of implementing GST had already been in place back in 1993, when he was in the BN government as finance minister.

"The idea was there, but I never went ahead and implemented it because I felt we were not ready for it then. At that time, we had a surplus budget and still I felt we were not ready. But now, we have a deficit budget," he said.

"I personally hold the view that the GST is a more effective and transparent tax system." 

On another, Anwar urged the government to respond quickly to claims that the United States has been gathering intelligence on Malaysia.

"Other countries have registered their strong protests over these claims. We must not be seen as being too weak and under US influence," he said.

He urged Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to respond to this serious claim.

At a separate press conference later, Zahid said this matter needed to be handled by the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

"The foreign minister (Anifah Aman) should respond on the matter," Zahid said.
NONE

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