More details on GST consultation required

An opposition member of parliament (MP) wants the federal government to give details on the estimated RM22 million to be used next year to study the implementation of the goods and services tax (GST) in the country.

Bukit Bendera MP Liew Chin Tong said an allocation of RM22 million has been listed on the federal estimated expenditure 2010 under the one-off item — “panel to review GST” — adding that the sum was huge to conduct such a study.

“I urge the finance minister or the second finance minister to explain what is in the study,” he told reporters at the parliament lobby today.

Liew pointed out that the government must be accountable to disclose the contents of the study to the rakyat, including the name of the consultancy firm that was tasked to review the broad-based consumption tax.

Speculations are rife that an international accounting firm had been given the job to review the GST, and pave the way for its implementation in the near future.

According to Liew, the idea of implementing GST needed national debate and inputs from all stakeholders, stressing that GST was implemented in Australia in 1998 only after a general election that was dubbed a “referendum on the GST.”

“GST is a very serious issue. It cannot be outsourced to a consultancy firm and be decided by solely by the firm,” he added.

The Star

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