Promised drop in prices eludes us

I REFER to the many reports on the goods and services tax. The question is whether GST has an adverse effect on the people especially the poor.

The cost of living has affected the masses including fresh graduates who are shocked to find their hard earned degree can hardly pull them through the month having to settle different loans.

Politicians and people across the political divide appear to be torn between whether GST was a great idea and that its implementation has helped the people and the nation as a whole.

Or has GST become a burden to the people while the powers that be acknowledged it has helped to soften the financial blow when our reliance on crude oil took a beating and where our ringgit experienced a rough shock and took a beating too in the financial market?

I have no doubts GST will help the nation progress and achieve a higher standard of living. For that to happen we have to be prudent and wise in how we spend our hard earned money.

To help the government, the people through various channels, have provided feedback on how their tax money should be spent and to continue relentlessly anti-corruption enforcement.

One deep frustration with the implementation of GST is that the prices of goods and services have not gone down as promised. That serious concern has been raised many times and remains an issue.

The most vulnerable segment of our society are the low-income earners, the common people who feel the pinch of having to pay more for essential goods and services.

When I do my weekly marketing and groceries, I am dismayed by the cost of essential items. Even local vegetables are expensive.

Traders claim that the rise in the price of goods and services is in tandem with the overall rise in the cost of living. They follow the herd and raise prices indiscriminately without justification. They attribute the rise to the chain reaction in the "business process" and cite GST as the main cause. Our financial and economics experts need to tell us if this is true.

Why are prices of goods and services at an historical high when the people were told that with the implementation of GST, the prices would be lower?

Dr Tan Eng Bee