KUALA LUMPUR, June 1 — DAP deputy secretary-general Liew Chin Tong said today that the government’s proposal to bring back the goods and services tax (GST) amid a global inflation was “madness”.

“GST is regressive and a tax that kills the golden goose of consumption. The poor and low and middle-income families pay more GST as a proportion of their income than their richer counterparts,” the Johor DAP chairman said on Facebook today.

Liew, who is also Perling assemblyman, called GST “the wrong cure for the wrong problem,” saying that the economic situation of Malaysian households isn’t doing well enough to pay a flat rate consumption tax.

According to him, only 16.5 per cent of Malaysians pay income tax, while 60 per cent are considered poor.

“GST is the tax that punishes the poor, kills consumption at all levels, and doesn’t increase government revenue, and doesn’t benefit the overall economy,” he said.

Liew alleged that former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is the mastermind behind the push for the GST, adding that the latter appeared to be playing a similar hand that led to his predecessor Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s loss during the 2008 elections that was partly attributed to a 40 per cent petrol hike at the time.

“Who advised Abdullah to do what he did? The chief advocate in the Cabinet was Abdullah’s deputy Najib Razak. Who benefited from the collapse of the Abdullah premiership after the fuel hike decision? Najib Razak.

“Who succeeded Abdullah as prime minister on April 3, 2009? Najib Razak. Now, who is screaming: bring back the GST? Najib Razak,” Liew said.

The Johor Opposition leader suggested that one of the solutions to the government’s emptying funds was to push more Malaysian households into middle class society with decent pay.

“The fundamental challenge facing this nation is the vicious cycle of low pay, low skill, low technology adoption and low productivity,” he said.

He added instead of the GST and other consumption taxes, there should be an economic restructuring of the country so that more Malaysians can have better jobs and be eligible to pay direct income tax, which would give the overall economy a better advantage in the long run.

Earlier today, Opposition coalition Pakatan Harapan also released a statement strongly opposing the reimplementation of the GST.