The new government under Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad will ensure that the abolishment of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the reintroduction of fuel subsidies will not adversely affect the Malaysian economy.
The government’s newly set-up Team of Eminent Persons is confident of shelving GST and reinstating fuel subsidies as they have the relevant expertise and experience.
“We have got to analyse GST and fuel subsidies. Once we have removed GST, most importantly, we’ll 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.
“We can handle this. There is no reason why the economy can be at stake and be worse off, don’t worry.
“Basically, the fund managers are more worried about GST. They are afraid that the debt would increase. We are not going to increase the debt anymore. We are not stupid.
“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,” former Finance Minister Tun Abdul Daim Zainuddin told Bernama after chairing the newly formed Team of Eminent
Persons meeting on Saturday. Besides Abdul Daim, the other members of the five-member team are former Bank Negara Malaysia governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, former Petroliam Nasional Bhd president and CEO Tan Sri Mohd Hassan Marican, economist Prof Dr Jomo Kwame Sundaram and billionaire Tan Sri Robert Kuok.
Kuok was not present at the meeting as he was abroad.
According to Abdul Daim, at present, the team would not disclose how the government would mitigate shortfalls arising from the GST abolishment and the reintroduction of fuel subsidies.
He said the team would take pertinent steps to restore the confidence of investors.
“First is GST, then, we will be calling the officers in the ministries to brief us on the mega projects, on national debt, on governance of government-linked companies — Tabung Haji, Majlis Amanah Rakyat, Federal Land Development Authority as well as to address the ringgit,” he added.
On the probe into 1Malaysia Development Bhd, Abdul Daim revealed that a special task force would be set up immediately for this purpose under the purview of the Team of Eminent Persons. — Bernama