No GST, No Problem

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Eminent Team get straight down to work to get rid of GST.

  • Remove GST
  • Reintroduce fuel subsidies
  • Get rid of corruption and wastage, become more efficient
  • Look into mega projects, national debt, GLCs
  • Address ringgit
  • Immediately set up special task force on 1MDB probe
  • Address quickly oversupply of office space and housing
  • Target to achieve within first 100 days

The newly set up Team of Eminent Persons meant business and wasted no time as they convened their first meeting soon after the announcement of its formation by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamed.

No honeymoon period and prolonged post-election euphoria as the government is determined to restore the confidence of the people and investors after Pakatan Harapan’s unprecedented win in the 14th general election on May 9.

Chaired by former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin, the meeting, which went late into the night, was also attended by three other members of the team, namely former Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, former Petronas President and Chief Executive Officer Tan Sri Mohd Hassan Marican and economist Prof Jomo Kwame Sundaram.

Billionaire tycoon Tan Sri Robert Kuok was not present as he is currently overseas.

Speaking to Bernama after the meeting, Daim said the five-member team was briefed and deliberated on current economic situation, the national debt, the ringgit, Goods and Services Tax (GST) and fuel subsidies, amongst others.

“These are the major things. We are making the recommendations to the government. At the end they will decide,” he said.

The new Paka­tan Harapan (PH) government will ensure that the removal of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and reintroduction of fuel subsidies will not adversely affect the national economy, says Tun Daim Zainuddin.

Daim, who is a member of the newly formed Team of Eminent Persons, said the members had the relevant expertise and experience to handle the task.

“We have got to analyse GST and fuel subsidies. Once we have removed GST, we will then get rid of corruption and wastage and become more efficient.

“We have done it before, (for) 57 years there was no GST, there was no problem.

Bernama

“We can handle this. There is no reason why the economy would be at stake and be worse off, don’t worry,” he said after chairing a meeting with the team on Saturday.

The others in the five-member team are former Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, former Petronas president and CEO Tan Sri Hassan Marican, economist Prof Jomo Kwame Sundaram and billionaire Robert Kuok, who was not present at the meeting as he was abroad.

Daim said fund managers were more worried about the GST.

“They are afraid that the debt would increase. We are not going to increase the debt anymore. We are not stupid.

Mukhriz Hazim

“This is unnecessary speculation. This is a normal reaction when a new government takes over. How could there be uncertainty as the manifesto is there and everything is there,” he added.

Daim said the team would not disclose how the Government would mitigate shortfalls arising from removing the GST and reinstating fuel subsidies.

He also said the team would take pertinent steps to restore investor confidence.

“First is GST, then we will call officers in the ministries to brief us on the mega projects, on the national debt, on government-linked companies like Tabung Haji, Mara and Felda, and also address the ringgit,” he added.

On the 1MDB probe, Daim said a special task force would be set up immediately under the purview of the team.

The team has already identified those who could assist in the probe and in the recovery of billions of ringgit allegedly stolen from the fund, he said, adding that the team would later submit a report to the Government.

Solving the 1MDB fiasco was among the promises made by PH in its 10-point manifesto for GE14.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, in announcing the setting up of the team, said it would assist the new government in imple­menting the pledges made by Pakatan within its first 100 days in power.

Daim said another pertinent issue that needed to be addressed quickly was the oversupply of office space and housing.

“Another example is the cost of security for schools. It cost more than the assets they’re guarding,” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, Daim said the team would hold meetings daily for 100 days, and in fact, on some days, it would be a few times a day.

“I want this to finish this within 100 days. After that I want to sleep,” he quipped.