March 31, 2015 by Suara Kebenaran
KUALA LUMPUR: Director-General Khazali Ahmad was spewing complete and utter nonsense when for the first time ever, “we hear that the Government was planning not only to control prices of certain basic goods, but now also on the ‘profit margins’ of normal goods and services”, said DAP’s Tony Pua.
“Khazali seems to have forgotten that we don’t live in a communist country like the Soviet Union or the Mao Tse-tung China of the past where the government controls all prices and profit margins,” said Petaling Jaya Utara MP Tony Pua. “With the exception of price-controlled items, which are zero-rated anyway, there are no laws in Malaysia which tells a business how much profit it can make.”
Why should a poor makcik who operates a warong be penalised for increasing her teh tarik prices by 20 sen when tycoons operating hotels get away with charging an exorbitant RM18 for the same drink?
Khazali’s warning was not only unlawful, Pua warned, it was conceptually ridiculous and worse, impossible to administer.
How would the Customs officers even be able to determine the cost of the products after taking into account shop rentals, labour costs and service quality when attempting to “measure” if there has been an increase in “profit margin” which was deemed punishable?
Pua, who is also DAP National Publicity Secretary, was taking the position a day before the GST was to be implemented, that the Royal Malaysian Customs was in a state of panic over the significant price hikes Malaysians would be facing upon the implementation of the GST.
He was commenting on Khazali’s statement on Monday that businesses must not increase profit margins for the next 15 months following the introduction of the GST. Khazali warned that those who flouted the “moratorium” would be penalised.
“So, for example, if their profit margin was 10 per cent, they cannot increase that for the next 18 months from January this year,” said Khazali.
The Royal Malaysian Customs should not resort to wild threats and ridiculous regulations to mitigate the inevitable inflationary pressures resulting from the controversial Goods and Services Tax (GST), added Pua.
“Pakatan Rakyat (PR) leaders have been harping and pleading with the Barisan Nasional (BN) government to postpone, stop or suspend the plans to implement the Goods and Services Tax (GST) for the past two years.”
Malaysians, according to Pua, were doomed and resigned to significantly higher prices as could be seen by the mad rush to purchase pre-GST goods over the past week throughout the country.
“The fault lies squarely with the ignorant and obstinate Cabinet Ministers who refuse to listen to logic and rationale.”