At a recent talk on the GST, I asked those present what they thought “GST” stood for. Most of those present responded, “Goods and Services Tax”.
Then, I showed them a cartoon by Zunar which described GST as “Golfing, Shopping, Travelling”! They got the joke and laughed knowingly.
But humour aside, the concern over the impending Goods and Services Tax was evident on the faces of those who attended the talk at the Church of the Risen Christ in Air Itam, Penang.
The first thing to note is that the GST is a regressive tax. It is a significant move away from the somewhat progressive tax system that we used to have.
Why is it regressive? It shifts the burden of tax away from the rich to everyone, including the vast majority who are struggling to make ends meet. And instead of a consumption tax imposed on certain items, this time only few items are exempted.