Thursday, 27 January 2011

Needless Spending

I was having a discussion with my friend Kenneth over the amount of tax that Malaysians pay.

Frankly, I was unhappy about having to pay GST or Goods & Service Tax in addition to all the other taxes we already have.

"GST is a good way of taxing the rich and relieving the poor," he told me.

I don't doubt that at all. In fact, I don't even have a problem with that system. Many developed countries that I've visited have implemented the GST and it works just fine.

What I have a problem with, is the government propensity to collect so much tax from the citizens.

We are a nation blessed with one of the most sought-after natural resources - oil, also known as Black Gold.

Most people don't know this, but it is estimated that Malaysia has a revenue of between RM2-3 trillion per year from the Oil & Gas industry.

Not millions, not billions, but TRILLIONS.

Folks, that is a lot of money. A lot of good can be done with it to improve the lives of the citizens.

But instead, the money is grossly squandered and sometimes unaccounted for.

Take the expenses of the Prime Minister's wife, for example.

There is no way in heaven or hell that we can justify such ludicrous spending. Let me highlight a few points:

- Rosmah’s official residence, Seri Perdana is undergoing a RM65 million facelift.
- Her visit to the USA was heralded by a centre-fold spread in the New York Times, which was estimated to cost about USD 5 million.

The author of the article above even has her own set of rather pertinent questions:

How many people were in her delegation? What were their official capacities? Who decided who should accompany her? Who picked up the tab? Did anyone accompanying her pay their own way? What gifts did she give the respective heads of state? Have members of her delegation declared their gifts to the tax authorities? What was her itinerary?

Rosmah started her three-day visit to Saudi Arabia on Jan 8. Then she flew home to prepare herself for Taib Mahmud’s wedding reception. The day after, she resumed her mid-east trip and spent four-days in Oman. Lastly, on Jan 19, she flew to Bangladesh for three-days.

Was it necessary for her and her delegation to go back and forth and waste resources?

Rosmah Mansur thinks that the national coffers at her disposal simply because she is the Prime Minister's wife.

Meanwhile, the rakyat are still slogging everyday to make ends meet. To add salt to injury, they are required to pay taxes so that party-animal Rosmah can make paradise seem like the set of B-grade movie.

Isn't it time we do something about this sorry state of affairs?


shar101 said...

Yo Crank,

Guess what I just heard from .. err .
never mind who ..

In Bangladesh,

a) she didn't attend the AUW opening ceremony
b) arrived two hours late for a dinner hosted by the Bangladeshi foreign minister, and
c) didn't fulfil a scheduled appointment to meet Muhammad Yunus of Grameen Bank.

Rather sloppy behaviour for a First Lady, wot?

Joshua Lopez said...

While i question many things about the government. I believe that Rosmah is the least of the issues. She befits a first lady and she has done and is doing much. Off course in the real world, money is needed to get things moving, let's not go to far, the moment we set our foot outside our homes its money!

Take note that she is the second first lady to be highly educated after Tun Dr.Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali. Rosmah does use her position for the good of Malaysia, she is a working first lady and she's sincere about the causes she fights for. The PM didn't marry just any woman from the streets. She is brilliant and hardworking. And she is respected and recognized as a first lady in many countries around the world.

I think we have bigger issues in our country to focus on, leave the lady to do her work and she does it very well!

donplaypuks® said...

"GST is a good way of taxing the rich and relieving the poor," he told me."

This is not true. GST, VAT whatchamacallit, is a broadbased tax that will capture everyone in its net.

Whatever is exempted from GST - basic food items, medicine, books, financial transactions etc., - will benfit the rich as well as the poor.

The only way to avoid GST is to spend less or not at all as in strict economic terms, it is what we call Consumption Tax.

Anyway, GST has not been implemented in M'sia yet, only Service and Sales Tax. Generally, GST is introduced in developed economies to supplement dwindling tax revenues and greater demand for social welfare, and not in places like M'sia which is still trying to catch up and where there are gross disparities in distribution of national income.

As for the PM's wife spending Taxpayers' money as though it's going out of fashion, the Auditor General must investigate under what law and authority she is doing it and who is giving her a free hand and if it legal!

It is important to note the Rakyat did not and have not voted yet for Najib (he was installed by AAB) and certainly no one voted for the PM's wife that she can usurp the powers of voted MP's. It's a shmeful situation

we are all of 1 Race, the HUman Race

Crankster said...

Shar - she certainly sounds like a prima donna. She claims that what she is doing is for all the citizens of Malaysia. Guess her objective must be to defile the already tarnished Malaysian reputation.

Joshua - I haven't seen her do much good in this country, much less outside. And I beg to differ in opinion, very few people respect or recognise her.

DPP - regarding the GST, what my friend was referring to was for example, the purchase of a flat screen 72-inch TV. If a rich man purchases it, then he pays the tax for a luxury item. At the end of the day, he can afford to go without it as it's not a necessity.

When I was in Europe, the GST was never charged on bread, milk, fruit and others. Golf clubs etc got the brunt of it. I feel that is fair.

But like you rightly say, GST was implemented in developed countries that had no hardcore poor people, not in a struggling third world nation.

Pat said...

I think DPP makes some brilliant points here - after reading yours, lah ;)

Crankster said...

Hahaha. No need to be so diplomatic lah. Those were good points. The good thing about blogging is that you learn a lot from discussion with your readers.

Joshua Lopez said...

Rosmah's Official Residence is at Bukit Damansara. Not Sri Perdana. And in no way can her Bukit Damansara Residence undergo an uplift worth that much.