KUALA LUMPUR, April 29 — Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan has been warned by his party to stop making remarks about the newly imposed goods and services tax (GST), Astro Awani reported today.
The news channel quoted unnamed party sources saying the Umno information chief was “told” not to highlight GST issues especially during the campaigning period in Rompin and Permatang Pauh, fearing backlash after making a series of “scathing remarks” on the new tax.
“Several top-notch Umno leaders have warned Ahmad Maslan for coming out a tad too vocal on issues pertaining to GST. This may lead to us clinching reduced majority in Rompin which will result in the failure to win the Permatang Pauh by-election.
“His intentions are good but his statements are often being manipulated by the Opposition until many issues had cropped up which would affect the party,” the source told Awani.
Another unnamed source from Umno confirmed the matter and that Ahmad has been given the gag order on GST.
“If he continues, it will leave a negative impact on the party,” the source said.
Last month, Ahmad Maslan told Universiti Teknologi Mara (UiTM) students to cook their own meals instead of eating out to avoid GST.
Many students responded on social media ridiculing the deputy minister’s suggestion saying most of them who stay on campus, are not allowed to cook.
He was also reported saying that former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad suggested that the government abolish the new tax system because he did not understand how GST works.
“I think the people around him did not give him the proper explanation about GST. The GST percentage is much lower than SST (sales and services tax). So, how can he say it’s better for the government to cancel GST?” the Pontian MP was quoted as saying.