AN OPPOSITON-slant group has hit out at the unity government for its tendency of raising taxes and reducing subsidies in Budget 2024 when the focus should be on lowering and controlling the rising cost of living among the B40 (Bottom 40%) group.
Instead of striving to increase the income of the people – especially those from the low- and middle-income groups, the service tax was increased to 8% from 6% except for food, beverages and telecommunications, according to the IKATAN Youth Council of Malaysia (DPIM) head Shahir Adnan.
“Realistically, there will be a chain of tax increases because transport costs, logistics costs and raw material costs will rise in tandem, thus causing the cost of food, beverages and telecommunications to also increase,” HarakahDaily quoted him as saying.
Shahir further stressed the need to take into account the global economic stand-point whereby value of the ringgit has depreciated to as low as RM4.75/US$1.
“Although our country is the world’s oil producer, our dependence on imported materials will cause the price of raw materials to rise sharply,” he cautioned. “As a result, food prices will inadvertently be impacted. As it is, efforts by the Madani Government to strengthen value of the ringgit in Budget 2024 are still unclear.”
In this regard, the Kelantan IKATAN chairman has proposed three short-term measures to strengthen the value of the local currency, namely to (i) intensify the campaign to buy Malaysian-made made goods; (ii) boost the local tourism sector; and (iii) implementing ringgit control with exporters converting their earnings in foreign currency to ringgit.
From a subsidy stand-point, Shahir said Budget 2024 is also unclear on the issue of oil and diesel subsidies that will be withdrawn or implemented as targeted subsidies.
“However, introducing a new tax in the form of luxury tax at a rate of 5% to 10% is spot on because that does not impact the low-income or extreme poor group,” justified Shahir who had in the 2018 general election contested in the Subang Jaya parliamentary constituency under the PAS banner.
“The Prime Minister-cum-Finance Minister has implied I(during his Budget 2024 tabling) that oil sold in our country is among the cheapest in the world. This seems to be subtly hinting that there will be a change to the oil subsidy, hence the RM1.50/litre oil price (RON95) is merely a rhetoric of false promises during the election.” – Oct 14, 2023