THOSE with a monthly household income of RM2,000 and below paid RM51.89 per month – or 2.59% of their earnings – under the Goods and Services Tax (GST) implemented from April 1, said the Finance Ministry.
Under the previous Sales and Service Tax (SST), they only paid RM36.83 or 1.84% of their monthly earnings.
Finance Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the study also showed that those earning RM8,000 paid RM290 – 4.14% of their monthly income – under the GST as compared to RM168 (2.8%) previously.
“Based on this study, it is not true to assume that the lower income group is paying more than those in the high income bracket once the GST came into place.
“In fact, those in the high income group will pay more as they spend more on goods and services imposed with GST. This shows that the GST model is progressive in nature,” he said in a reply to Oscar Ling Chai Yew (DAP-Sibu).
However, Najib said the country’s inflation rate was expected to rise between 2% and 3% this year, adding that the Government was focusing its attention on the rising cost of living.
“In April this year, the Consumer Price Index (CPI) saw a 1.8% rise after GST compared to 0.8% the previous month. However, this rate is still under control and not all items in the basket of goods have shown a drastic increase,” he said.
In another reply to Datuk Mohd Zaim Abu Hasan (BN-Parit), Najib said Malaysia was considered a nation with manageable and moderate debts totalling RM596.8bil or 51% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Almost all – 97% or RM579.2bil – he said, was domestic debt while the rest, RM17.6bil, was foreign debt.
“The debts are mostly Government bonds issued domestically, 72.4% of which are held by major institutions while 27.6% are held by foreign investors,” he said.
The Government, said Najib, was committed to ensure the debt level did not go above 55% of the GDP.
He also told Datuk Wan Mohd Khair-Il Anuat Wan Ahmad (BN-Kuala Kangsar) that Bank Negara had placed 171 companies under its watch list for involvement in get-rich-quick schemes since 2000 and uploaded this onto its website.
“Between 2000 and last year, 66 companies and individuals were investigated for offences related to illegal deposit taking,” he said.