Business & Markets 2013
Written by Tarani Palani, fz.com (contributor to theedgemalaysia.com)
Tuesday, 22 October 2013 09:50
KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 21): Pakatan Rakyat has suggested that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) be put on hold until real wages go up.
"It should be on hold until minimum household wage is seen to be suitable to sustain the GST," said Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
Anwar said the GST should also be put on hold until more tax relief is given to the middle income group.
The Pakatan proposal was contained in the opposition coalition's shadow budget unveiled at a meeting room in Parliament today.
Pakatan has been preenting an alternative budget prior to federal government's budget announcement, which this year will take place on Friday.
Anwar said personal income tax band which the middle-income group fall under should also be widened to prevent the group from being subjected to a sharp increase in taxes.
Anwar also said that the corporate and individual tax trade-off has to be explained to the public in order to avoid further burden from the GST.
Pakatan also suggested that the Real Property Gains Tax (RPGT) should return to the pre-2007 levels - where the rate is 30% for sales within the first year and the lowest rate is fixed at 5% for sales in the fifth year - to more effectively curb speculation activities.
Anwar said that the overarching concept of the Pakanatan budget for the coming year was to strengthen the country's fiscal position and to empower public funds, to develop an economy which is inclusive and balance and to improve the welfare and quality of the public.
Other proposals in the shadow budget include:
Measures to curb wastage and misappropriation
- Prioritise spending by reducing or abolishing programmes which are not effective such as the National Service Programme which is allocated RM 800 million annually. Pakatan has suggested that at least a year's moratorium be given until a Parliamentary Select Committee (PSC) reviews the programme.
- Rationalise cost for all ministries and government departments by 10%. This will be enforced by suspending ministers' and government department heads' allowances, reviewing government procurement processes and reviewing targeted subsidy for fuel, sugar and flour.
- Have a bipartisan PSC to specifically overlook the Defence Ministry due to its immense wastage and mismanagement.
- Take strict action against ministries which have records of wastage and misappropriation of funds as reported by the auditor general.
Sabah and Sarawak
- Pan-Borneo Highway to connect towns in Sabah and Sarawak which will be speeded up as soon as 2014.
- Review the carbotage system.
- Ensure 100% water and electricity supply in towns and rural areas through solar technology, windfarms and microhydra.
- Allocation of RM1200 a year to all working mothers to fund child care services for children below 12 years old.
- A social providence scheme with RM 3 billion allocated to it. RM 600 will be given to wives whose husband contribute RM 120 to RM 1200 to the fund. The money can be withdrawn when there is death of a partner, divorce or loose of permanent income.
-Establish Special Needs School for children with special needs.
-Assist 1,854 vernacular schools with a an annual payment of RM300 per student to increase quality of education in the schools.
- Create 200,000 job opportunities in three years for those aged between 15 -24 years old.
- Increase Social Security Organisation (Socso) to a 24 hour protection insurance scheme where the federal government, employer and employee contribute RM1 each to the fund.
Rural Insurance scheme
- Implemnt a more comprehensive scheme to protect farmers, fisherman and cattle-breeders from weather impact, changing season and other unexpected events
Disabled and elderly
- Increase programmes to help OKUs who earn less than RM1,200 monthly and to increase quality of care for the elderly by increasing the number of geriatric specialist from 16 to at least 1000 by 2030.
Anwar said that Pakatan will only release full details of the shadow budget later for fear of duplication by the federal government which will table its budget on Friday.
Pakatan has estimated that the national deficit for 2014 will be RM34 billion which is around 3.2% of the national income.