We will explain benefits of higher revenue from GST, says Najib

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(May 11): He said the government will explain and table to the people the benefits that they derive from the growth in national revenue.

He said the government must find a stronger source of income for the country's finances by, among other things, introducing the goods and services tax (GST).

Najib said the government must be confident in making decisions although the outcome could not be seen in the short term but could only see the results in the long- and medium-term.

"The GST may not be popular in the short term. If possible, improve the tax implementation by taking action on irresponsible parties who raise prices and to give additional explanation to the people," Bernama reported him as saying at the monthly staff gathering of the Prime Minister's Department in Putrajaya today.

Najib, who is also the Finance Minister, said when the revenue increased, the government would explain to the people in a transparent manner because the people wanted to know the utilisation of the national income.

"Later, I will table to the people that we will use the additional revenue for the benefit of the people and country. This, I want to assure you that it is actually the government's aspiration.

"When our position is stronger, the market will have confidence in our national economy, we have additional resources, we can move ahead," he said.

Najib said the government had increased the 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M) this year to reduce the burden from the rising prices of goods, and reduced the rate of personal income tax.

"For us to do all these, we must have financial resources that can further strengthen the national income," he said, adding that he would table the 11th Malaysia Plan on May 21 which outlined the government's plans for the next five years.

According to Bernama, Najib said that in order for the nation to be competitive with a high-income economy, the corporate tax must be reduced as was being done in Thailand and Singapore which had reduced it to 20% and 17% respectively in addition to the personal income tax.

The corporate tax rate in Malaysia currently is 25%.

Najib also drew attention to the fact that since he assumed the country's top leadership in 2009, the government had never failed to reduce the national deficit rate each year.

"When I took over the leadership, the national deficit was 6.6%. Every year, without fail and consistently, the deficit was reduced to the extent that the national deficit last year was only 3.5%.

"This shows that we are on the right track to achieve a balanced budget in 2020," he said.

Najib also said the government must be confident that what had been implemented had achieved the desired outcome and the national competitiveness had increased.

"Have faith that if we continue with what we are doing, improve the other weaknesses and work as a team, we will achieve our aspirations," he added.

"Be confident when we continue what the efforts that have been implemented, fix other weaknesses and if we work together as a team.

"If there are other problems in that period, give time to resolve it and I am confident that it will be done on the condition that we are together as a family. Believe that what we are dreaming of can be realised," he was quoted as saying by Bernama.

Najib's administration has been under fire by critics for implementing the GST without tackling leaks and wastage in the public delivery system, and for adding to the cost of living. He has also been criticised for handing out cash aid through BR1M.

Chief among his critics has been former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who has called for his resignation.

Last night, Najib defiantly insisted that he would not bow to pressure for him to step down as prime minister, saying that he will remain in the job with support from Umno and trust from the people.

“I only bow down to party members and the people. As long as the party members support me, and as long as people give their trust, I shall continue to serve," state news agency Bernama quoted him as saying in front of a 40,000-strong crowd in Kota Belud, Sabah, yesterday.

It was also the first time Najib has openly slammed former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad for the numerous calls for his resignation.

"Obviously one voice (Dr Mahathir) cannot be greater than the voices heard from the crowd here, in Kota Belud and the mandate given by the people," he said, in another swipe at Dr Mahathir. – The Malaysian Insider