Reconsider GST implementation, urges Johor MB

Putting the people first: Onn Hafiz delivering the closing speech at the state assembly meeting at Kota Iskandar, Johor. — Bernama

ISKANDAR PUTERI: Putrajaya should consider reimplementing the Goods and Services Tax (GST), says Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Onn Hafiz Ghazi.

He said that during the seven days of the state assembly meeting, many assemblymen raised the issue of the cost of living, which was affecting the people.

“It cannot be denied that the people have voiced many concerns about the proposed rationalisation of subsidies, especially involving the increase in petrol and diesel prices.

“The state government is also concerned about the domino effect and increase in inflation when this subsidy rationalisation is enforced,” Onn Hafiz said in his winding-up speech during the state assembly sitting here yesterday.However, he added that the state government was confident in Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s assurance that the rationalisation would not burden the people.

“Before making a decision, the state government hopes that the Federal Government will consider reimplementing the GST as an additional source of income to support the people. This is also in line with the views given by economic experts who stated that GST is the best taxation system for a country,” he said.

On another matter, Onn Hafiz said the state government established a task force last year to update the hardcore poor data in Johor. He added that in 2023, the Johor Islamic Religious Council received RM388mil in zakat payments, while the state Welfare Department was allocated a total of RM269mil.

Onn Hafiz said that this means the government has RM657mil to help those in need, and from the huge allocation, Johor should no longer have people who were shackled by extreme poverty.

“For that reason, last year, a task force was established to update the hardcore poor data on a large scale. Due to the efforts of this task force, the number of hardcore poor has decreased from 4,378 to 2,647, which shows a drop of 39.5%,” he added.

According to Onn Hafiz, the task force discovered various issues during the updating process, including those who were ineligible to get aid but still received it.

He added that some of the people listed in the data have even passed away and there were others who turned down assistance because they believed they were unqualified.

Only seven of the 20 heads of households in his own Machap constituency, according to Onn Hafiz, qualified as hardcore poor.

“Why and how can this happen? Those who are not qualified are given assistance, while those who deserve it are still hoping and looking forward to it.

“I am asking for the good service of the elected representatives to review the existing data, go to the ground and identify if there are more families in their respective areas that need help.

“Treat them with the same level of care and responsibility as you would your own family members,” he said.

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