Study shows 62 percent of voters reject GST

62 percent of Malaysians are against the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST), with only 30% backing the planned move, a Merdeka Center survey shows.

This comes as an estimated half a million people showed up on Labour Day in Dataran Merdeka to protest against the GST. About 100 protestors stayed on for a four-day “sleepover” led by DAP’s Hew Kuan Yew in a campaign that is gaining momentum amidst a backdrop of unhappiness over economic conditions seen by many citizens as oppressive.

Understanding of GST

The survey, which was conducted during the period from 12 to 21 April 2014, showed that Malays have the highest acceptance rate of the tax at 32 percent, followed by Chinese at 27 percent and Indians at 22 percent.

The data also shows that those who work for the government or government linked companies (GLC) are more likely to agree with the implementation of the tax than private sector employees. However, in each of the four occupation types, which includes government/GLC’s, private, self employed and unemployed, the number of people who disagree with GST outweighs those who are for the tax.

In terms of understanding of GST based on ethnicity, Indians recorded the highest numbers at 65 percent, followed by Chinese at 59 percent and Malays at 37 percent. Also, those who follow alternative media appear to understand the tax better than mainstream media readers.

When the question “how much do you understand how the national economy works?” was asked, a higher percentage of Indians answered “a great deal” or “a fair amount”, as compared to Chinese or Malays. This was also true for government and GLC employees, who far outnumber the percentage represented by private sector workers in this respect.

Perception of national economy

Putrajaya will introduce the goods and services tax at six per cent starting from April 2015. Since the move was announced by Prime Minister Najib Razak during last year’s budget speech, the government has been in overdrive to defend its unpopular move, resorting to expensive PR campaigns to convince the people, which include billboards, television, radio and print ads. Today, Najib was quoted as likening the GST to antibiotics in a speech to civil servants, saying it was “necessary” for the country’s transformation.

The Merdeka Center survey also compared perceptions on the nation’s economic strength. It found that Malays perceived the economy in a much better light compared to other races. The same is true for those in government or GLCs in comparison with private companies, and mainstream media followers compared to alternative media readers.

The survey was conducted over the phone among 1009 randomly selected Peninsular Malaysia voters from different constituencies. The full survey is made available to the public on Merdeka Center’s website. -The Rocket

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *