BN is fearful of a voter backlash in the Pengkalan Kubor by-election hence the flip-flop on imposing GST on petrol and diesel

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan on Monday insisted that the government was still undecided on how to treat petrol and diesel when the GST comes into effect next April.

Ahmad Maslan further clarified that the ministry had not arrived at a decision on whether petrol and diesel would be gazetted as zero-rated or tax-exempted items.

Ahmad Maslan’s statement contradicted earlier remarks by Royal Malaysian Customs Department senior assistant director Ishak Daud saying that petrol and diesel would not be exempted from the GST, which comes into effect on April 1, 2015.

Is the BN government fearful of a voter backlash in the Pengkalan Kubor by-election if an announcement is made to impose GST on petrol and diesel? It is clear that Ahmad Maslan is buying time for BN to avoid making an announcement to impose GST on petrol and diesel before the by-election. Hence the flip-flop and the ambiguous reply from various departments and ministries would not be hard to comprehend.

Is BN government so incompetent that with less than seven months from the GST implementation date, BN is still unable to come up with a complete list of GST-exempt and zero-rated items? If BN needed more time to study and finalise the list of items, BN shouldn’t have rush through the implementation of GST taking the people and businesses by surprise.

Ahmad Maslan also said the decision to impose GST on petrol and diesel will be dependent on the fuel subsidy rationalisation programme. This is a mischievous way to confuse the people. Regardless whether the government decides to “rationalise fuel subsidy” or “impose GST on fuel”, the net effect will be the same – fuel subsidy will be removed which will directly lead to higher petrol and diesel prices causing a chain effect burdening the people.

Najib must immediately come clean and announce whether BN will impose GST on petrol and diesel. Let all Malaysians be the judge if the BN government is sincere to fulfil its first promise of the 13th general election manifesto – easing the cost of living.

Media Statement by Chong Zhemin, DAP Perak Economic Development Bureau Chief and Political Secretary to the Taiping MP on 17 Sept 2014

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