Hari ini satu sidang akhbar tergempar telah dibuat di pejabat PAS untuk mengumumkan bahawa gabungan PROTES tidak akan mengadakan perhimpunan di hadapan Parlimen ekoran tindakan kerajaan menunda pembacaan kali kedua bil tersebut di Parlimen.
Keputusan kerajaan menangguh bacaan kedua GST di Parlimen, jelas menunjukkan kemenangan rakyat dalam menunjukkan bantahan terhadap cukai 1Malaysia ini. Pengumuman Menteri Kewangan Ke-2 itu memang mengejutkan kerana hanya beberapa hari sebelumnya beliau menolak kemungkinan GST tidak akan dibaca di Parlimen.
PSM terus mencabar Kerajaan melakukan satu referundum mengenai GST. PSM pasti majoriti rakyat akan menolak GST kerana ia cuaki yang bebankan rakyat majoriti.
Five years later, the GST was to be tabled in Parliament for the first reading. It was passed in December 2009 and was to be tabled for the second reading during the March-April 2010 Parliamentary sitting. PSM then launched another concerted campaign to oppose the GST. PSM held discussion with other PAKATAN partners, with MTUC as well as its front organization. We leafleted around 200.000 leaflets in Malay, Mandarin and Tamil while many other groups recopied this and distributed. We made badges, put up banners in major towns and held many community level discussion as well as big ceramahs.
The campaign then started to create a momentum. Pakatan Rakyat (PR) was united in opposing the GST. PR took a stand that GST should not be implemented for now as it will burden the people. The Government tried to lobby using the mainstream media but more and more people started to get worried about the GST. Our campaign on the ground gained momentum as many people signed up to oppose GST when it will be tabled on 15th. March 2010.
PROTES the coalition on fuel hike and prices then started to mobilize against the GST. PSM played key leadership role with PAS in opposing the GST and planned a huge protest on 15 March to oppose the GST. The police came up with public warnings in the print as well as radio and tv news warning the rakyat against participating in the demonstration.
Then yesterday, the Second Finance Minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said government needed more time to gather feedback from the rakyat. He said that “It (GST) will not be tabled for second reading in the March/April session (of Parliament) because we need more time to engage with the public. When he was further pressed on when it would be tabled, Husni said that the Government does not want to put a timeframe on this. This is an indication that the bill for now has been postponed indefinitely. Just four days ago, the same Minister dismissed speculations that the implementation of the GST would be called off and said that it will go on.
PSM believes that the about-turn decision by the Government is that BN does not want to risk losing the upcoming elections in Sarawak or the next General elections. The opposition against the GST is growing.
We call for the BN to hold a referendum on the question of GST and not just claim that it plans to consult the people. We also call upon the Government to maintain corporate taxes at its current rates and implement a minimum wage act to ensure the growing income disparity be narrowed down. But all this efforts will go in vain if we cannot plug the leakages and confront corruption.
While we would claim victory with the PROTEST coalition for the bill not to be tabled for now, nevertheless we believe that the GST will be back to haunt us as the GST is yet another ideological weapon of the neo-liberal regime to shift the burden to the poor. GST is an in-built system designed to rob from the poorer segment of society. It is a capitalist agenda.
PSM along with its front organization and other parties will have to work hard to ensure this bill be scrapped out altogether. It is yet proven again that mass mobilization can do wonders and we will continue to mount support against the GST.
We will built the class forces and oppose the GST until it is scrapped out altogether. The call by BN to implement GST calls for a class war between the BN who supports a Tax system which will benefit a few at the expense of many. It is time to stand with the many and to call for the GST to be buried once and for all.