PETALING JAYA - Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak says implementing the Goods and Services Tax (GST) was the hardest decision he ever had to make since he became prime minister in 2009.
"Introducing GST was one of the hardest decisions I have made. I knew that it would lead to increases in the prices of some goods and services, and that it would be painful for some Malaysians," Najib said in a statement on Monday (May 7).
However, he said that with GST, the country was made fiscally independent and stable without needing to be overly-reliant on the price of oil.
"This is something that was out of our hands and any downturn in the oil price, as we experienced a few years ago, could without intervention have led to a serious recession that would hit the people hard," he said.
He assured Malaysians that although there was some "short-term pain", the rewards are over the long term and will be felt in the years to come.
Najib added that the money from GST was channelled directly to Malaysians in "carefully targeted programmes" to ensure that the money went to those that needed it the most, rather than through blanket subsidies that even benefited billionaires.