NGOs plan protest at Malaysia Parliament tomorrow over GST, fuel price hike

KUALA LUMPUR - A coalition of non-governmental organisations will stage a protest in front of Parliament Wednesday over the planned Goods and Services Tax (GST) and the 20-sen price hike for RON95 petrol and diesel, in the run-up to Budget 2015.

Edy Noor Reduan, propaganda director for co-organiser Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM), said Tuesday that some 100 people were expected to throng Jalan Parlimen to hand over a memorandum voicing dissatisfaction over the recent fuel price hike.

The group is expected to gather at Tugu Negara at 10am Wednesday before marching to the Parliament building.

"As Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak tables Budget 2015, we want to present a memorandum urging him to stop the implementation of GST and reduce the price of petrol, which has added to the burden and cost of living of the people," he said.

Last week, it was announced that the price of RON95 petrol and diesel would be raised by 20 sen per litre to RM2.30 (S$0.90) and RM2.20 respectively.

Despite the negative response by motorists to the price hike, Domestic Trade, Co-operatives and Consumerism Minister Datuk Seri Hasan Malek indicated that the upcoming Budget 2015 would offset the price hike by "increasing BR1M", among other measures.

People had also feared that the implementation of GST on April 1 next year would increase the prices of goods erratically, as the tax would be imposed at every stage of the production and distribution chain of selected goods.

Najib said the 6 per cent GST rate was still among the lowest in Southeast Asia, compared with Singapore's 7 per cent and 10 per cent in Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philippines and Laos.

On the planned rally, city police chief Senior Deputy Comm Datuk Tajuddin Md Isa urged the protesters to comply with requirements under the Peaceful Assembly Act 2012, if they wished to continue with the protest.

"Nonetheless, we will be prepared and look at the situation, and respond accordingly," he said.