Guessing game over GST

Guessing game over GST

KUALA LUMPUR - The Yang Ber­­hormats in Dewan Rakyat will have their hands full in the next few weeks as they are expected to resume debates on the security and economic direction of the country.

Although the Prevention of Crime (Amendment and Exten­sion) Bill has been passed, DAP chairman Karpal Singh has been reported as saying that the DAP would challenge the constitutionality of the legislation if it was enacted,

Also, the debates are expected to start on the 12 Bills that were scheduled for second reading before the Dewan adjourned for the Hari Raya Haji break.

Notable are the amendments to other crucial laws which are in line with the new provisions under the PCA aimed at tackling organised crime and the underworld.

Among them are Penal Code (Amendment) Bill; Security Offen­ces (Special Measures) (Amend­ment) Bill; Prison (Amendment) Bill; Criminal Procedure Code (Amendment) Bill; Evidence (Am­­en­dment) Bill; and Corro-sive and Explosive Substances and Offen­sive Weapons (Amend­ment) Bill.

Come Friday, all eyes will focus on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak when he unveils Budget 2014.

Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said that the Budget would be aimed at strengthening the country's fiscal and macro position while also reflecting a continuation of policies based on the mandate given by the rakyat via the recent general election.

Of keen interest would be whether the Goods and Service Tax (GST) would be introduced by Najib as part of the anticipated tax reforms needed to steer the country towards becoming a high income developed nation.

(The GST was tabled for the first reading in Dewan Rakyat on Dec 16, 2009 but was subsequently withdrawn for reassessment.)

On Friday, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan hinted that the GST may not be introduced in the Budget although the Government had agreed in principle to implement it.

However, the guessing game as to whether the GST would form part of the Budget continues with Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar saying on Saturday that the introduction of the tax laws was seen as inevitable by economists.

He said that it was the best possible and more efficient way to boost revenue for the Government, adding that the decision over its implementation ultimately rested in the hands of Najib.

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