GST: Prices of goods rise due to sabotage by traders

SEREMBAN: The action by some traders who deliberately raise the prices of several items including basic necessities merely to get more profit is among the factors contributing to the rising prices of goods.

Negri Sembilan Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Mohamad Hasan said the irresponsible traders then diverted the people's attention by claiming that the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) had resulted in an increase in the prices of goods.

"There are many national issues that have been (deliberately) exaggerated ... the prices of goods are said to be expensive due to GST. GST is a good tax system (and) implemented by more than 160 countries compared to the old tax system which was easily manipulated and has caused leakage. Through GST, there is no way you can run.

"That's why the traders are angry ... that's why (they) deliberately sabotage the government. I don't mind saying that the traders sabotage the government. I always take beef as an example, from RM20 increased to RM35. What's the problem? Buffalo meat from RM28 increased to RM38.

"They say it's all because of GST. To breed buffaloes one does not need a barn and they eat grass which is free. So what has GST got to do with it," he said in a special interview with Bernama here.

Mohamad said although GST was a more transparent tax system, some improvements were still needed to be done particularly in terms of its enforcement.

"No party to conduct enforcement ... the price of 'ikan kembung' or Indian mackerel is RM22 (per kg), whereas fish is exempted from GST, vegetables and food are also exempted from GST but traders say GST is imposed on (vegetables and food) and the people simply follow it," he added.

Last Sunday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak said Malaysia would become a country with deficit without collecting RM45 billion in revenue through the implementation of GST.

Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said without the GST, the country was unlikely to be able to collect a revenue of RM45 billion annually, which was being returned to the people in the form of educational aid, assistance to smallholders and fishermen as well as the 1Malaysia People's Aid. — Bernama