GEORGE TOWN, Oct 3 — The federal government must look at increasing the people’s disposable income to spur the economy, Gerakan said today.

Gerakan deputy president Oh Tong Keong said higher pay levels would lead to more domestic consumption.

“Instead of introducing more taxes and cutting into people’s disposable income, the Pakatan Harapan government must look at how to cut down on taxes so that the people have more money to spend,” he said in an interview with Malay Mail.

The Penang Gerakan chairman said the country’s economy is slowing with the rest of the world and must be stimulated.

He claimed businesses have experienced a drop in sales of between 30 and 40 per cent.

He suggested that the government reduce the Sales and Service Tax (SST) to bring down prices and spur spending.

“The SST is worse than GST by the previous government, prices have increased by 16 per cent or more,” he claimed.

“Businesses are suffering, the economy is suffering and this is also impacting the people as their income is not increasing while costs continue to rise.”

He said the government should also consider reducing income tax rates for the middle-income group.

Oh hoped the Budget 2020 announcement will include policies to help the people, from the poor to the middle income groups.

He said the monthly welfare aid for poverty-stricken families should be increased to RM500 instead of the current RM300, which he said was inadequate.

He also called on the government to build more People’s Housing Project (PPR) for the B40 group.

“They must remember, there are people who do not have fixed incomes, they don’t have payslips to apply for loans to buy low-cost housing, these people need a place to stay too,” he said.

He said public housing is an essential facility the government must provide for the poor.

“The government should also introduce more rent-to-own projects for the poor other than renting out PPR units,” he said.

As for the proposed RON95 petrol subsidy, Oh said the subsidy should also be given to those in the middle-income group.

The petrol subsidy, outlined in Budget 2019, was meant for the B40 households earning less than RM3,860 per month.

Oh said some families could earn RM4,000 but if there are five or six in the family, it was barely enough for the family to survive.

“The government must review the fuel subsidy system and include the M40 in the system,” he said.

He told Putrajaya to put multi-billion mega projects on hold if the government is really short of funds.

“There is no need for a third national car, projects such as these must be put on hold while the funds should be used to help the people,” he said.

He said it would have been better used to improve public transport systems for the people.