Malaysia’s population has just touched 30 million. However, only about 5.6% or 1.7 million of the country’s population pay income tax. This comes to just 14% of the 12 million employed Malaysians. This is very low and means that 5.6% of the country is supporting the other 94.4%.
No country can sustain its growth and development on this drastically imbalanced ratio. At the moment this may not be such a serious problem when we have oil and gas to help finance the county’s growth and development. But what will happen when this oil and gas runs out (and which will happen for sure)? How will we then finance the country’s growth and development?
We need to get more Malaysians to pay tax so that we do not have just 5.6% of the population paying tax for the benefit of the other 94.4%. Over the long term this is going to kill the country.
The issue, therefore, is not to oppose the GST or try to block its implementation. What we need to do is to make sure the GST is fair or fairer so that we distribute the task of paying tax in a more equitable manner.
Everyone has to share this burden of paying tax. The burden should not be placed on the shoulders of just 5.6% of the population. So how do we do this and make sure that some people who are less financially capable are not burdened while those who have the means end up paying pittance?
Because Malaysians are so focused on opposing the GST, no one is bothering to look at how to make it fair or fairer and not become a burden to the lower income Malaysians. This, I believe, is what politicians should be looking at because there is no way the government is not going to implement the GST unless we want to see Malaysia going broke 10 years or so from now.