Three out of five Malaysians do not agree with Malaysia’s new consumption tax, the goods and services tax (GST) which is to be implemented next April with a 6% rate, according to a Merdeka Center survey.
The survey of 1,009 people carried out last month also showed that 53% did not understand how the GST will work.
A massive crowd protested against the tax in front of the historic Sultan Abdul Samad building in Kuala Lumpur yesterday but Putrajaya has insisted GST will take effect next April 1.
“62% of respondents did not agree to the implementation of the GST, which indicates that despite not knowing the finer points of the consumption tax, many members of the public did not support its rollout,” the independent pollster said today.
It added that consistent with the findings, the same survey also found that a large majority (64%) of respondents said they did not understand how the national economy works.
“This view was more prevalent among respondents coming from lower income households, rural areas and among women,” Merdeka Center said.
The survey was carried out by the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research between April 12 and 21.
For the survey, 1,009 registered voters comprising 60% Malay, 31%Chinese and 9% Indian respondents were interviewed by telephone.
The respondents were selected on the basis of random stratified sampling along ethnicity, gender and state of residence.
The respondents were also asked whether they thought GST was a fair taxation system and 40% replied in the negative.
The survey revealed that an equal number of male and female respondents from both the rural and urban areas (45%) thought the GST was unfair.
More damagingly for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Putrajaya, 46% of respondents said they were not confident that Barisan Nasional could handle the economy until 2020.
Unsurprisingly, almost all the Chinese respondents indicated their lack of faith in Putrajaya’s skills in steering the country’s economy.
Some 73% of Chinese respondents and 45% of Malay respondents questioned Putrajaya’s handling of Malaysia’s economy.
Even with the introduction of the GST next year, 51% of respondents said they were not confident that Putrajaya would be able to handle the country’s economy and fiscal deficit.
Only 38% of the 1,009 respondents indicated that they had confidence that Najib’s administration would be able to tackle Malaysia’s economy and fiscal deficit issues.
In addition, 52% of the respondents felt Malaysia would not be able to attain developed nation status in six years’ time, as projected by Putrajaya.
However, 41% of the respondents felt that the nation would reach developed nation status by 2020. – May 2, 2014.