The PKR lawmaker tells BN to scrap its plans to impose the goods and services tax on food categorised as ‘not normally consumed by Malaysians’

KUALA LUMPUR: PKR vice president Rafizi Ramli today urged Prime Minister Najib Razak to scrap the goods and services tax (GST) on more than 60 types of food items, which have been categorised as ‘not normally consumed by Malaysians’.

LATEST: Customs Department says it is cancelling the implementation of GST on the 60 additional items

The PKR Pandan lawmaker said Najib’s actions goes against BN’s earlier promises of not having GST imposed on food items to avoid burdening the people.

“Najib’s administration imposing GST on food items is against the early promises of BN, that GST supposedly isn’t a burden as food items will not be imposed with GST.

“By implementing GST in a hush-hush manner on food items while the people’s attention is diverted to a huge national scandal is dishonest. Its as if they are taking advantage of the people who are currently focused on 1MDB,” he said in a statement.

Rafizi was referring to Customs Department director-general T Subromaniam who confirmed a report in China Press yesterday on the unpopular tax being imposed on ‘few items not consumed by the masses’.

The report stated that the said food items includes seafood such as eel, swordfish, vegetables such as potato, long beans, nuts, spinach, sweet corn, fruits such as avocado, fig, grapes, nectarines, cherry, berry and other items such as tea, coffee, spices, noodles and coconut oil.

“Collecting GST from vegetables and imported food due to them being considered as a luxury items will lead to a whole lot of food items being imposed with GST, when most vegetables and raw products are imported due to domestic shortages,” Rafizi said.

He added, the tax which will be imposed starting July 1 will further add to the high cost of living especially for the bottom 40% income group, while boosting the inflation rate.

Price hike in restaurants

On the other hand, PKR Selayang MP William Leong said BN is only slowly taking out the basic necessities out from the GST exemption list.

He stressed that such course of action will most likely lead to restaurants hiking up prices on their menu due to the operators having no other option but to sustain.

“For sure restaurant operators will have no other option but to hike their price as these food items are now imposed with GST.

“A family’s monthly expenses will also be increased as a result of these price hikes. GST is obviously an unfair tax when low income group are also victimised by the tax,” he said.

Leong added that the BN government’s financial management is in a troubling state, so bad that they need to collect money from the poor through GST.

In a new development later in the day, the Customs Department said it was cancelling the implementation of GST on the 60 additional items after consulting the Finance Ministry.