Reports lodged against anti-GST rally organisers in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR - The planned rally on May 1 to protest against the Goods and Services Tax (GST) has struck an angry chord among various consumer and business groups in the city.

The Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman Retailers Association (J-tarra), the Muslim Consumers Association of Malaysia (PPIM), the Young Malaysian Journalists Club and Ikatan Rakyat Insan Muslim Malaysia have lodged police reports against the anti-GST rally organisers.

J-tarra president Datuk V.K. Liew said the planned demonstrations would have a negative effect on retailers along the street and surrounding commercial areas.

"Road closures and heavy traffic will discourage people from shopping in these places," he said when met outside the Dang Wangi police station here yesterday.

"From past experience, these protesters have the tendency to act dangerously," said Liew, adding that it projected a bad image to tourists staying at the hotels in the vicinity.

He said many retailers had pressed him to voice out their dismay over the planed demonstration.

PPIM work officer Mohd Mustaffa Hamzah added: "If the demonstration is held, it will affect the livelihood of small businesses and taxi drivers.

"Provocation by certain parties might lead to confrontation between the authorities and demonstrators."

He urged the police to prevent the demonstration from taking place.

Young Malaysian Journalists Club president Dzulkarnain Taib said he felt that the GST issue had been heavily politicised.

"Why didn't these parties voice out their views to the special committee set up to monitor the implementation of the GST?" he said.

"It seems like they are using the issue, without proper knowledge about it, to go against the GovernĀ­ment."