And the pretending goes on …

— The Malaysian Insider
Sep 13, 2011

SEPT 13 — Presumably, if you keep on message all the time, you must hope that fiction turns into fact. Let’s take the issue of the six per cent service tax on users of prepaid mobile services.

It was introduced by this government (included somewhere in the last budget by the Finance Minister) and yet Malaysians have had to go through this painful sandiwara by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak (who urged the telcos to reconsider passing on the tax to consumers), Information Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim, who was keen to paint the telcos as the bad guys, and now DPM Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

The country’s number two, like his Cabinet and Umno colleagues, is keen to show that the government is compassionate and mindful of the pain felt by the rakyat. He, like his friends, speaks as if it was some third party who suddenly imposed this tax out of thin air and the BN fairy came along, waved a wand and took away the pain of the rakyat.

Fact is that it was this administration that imposed the tax on the telcos and the telcos passed it on to the consumers as they are because their agreements (again agreed to by the BN government) allow them to do so. It is ridiculous to say that they are making too much money and make it seem that they are alien bodies because two of the major telcos are owned substantially by the government through Khazanah Nasional Berhad!

Fact also is that this idea of passing on the six per cent to consumers did not happen overnight. Much like the Astro price hike, it was discussed and brought to the attention of the authorities but obviously some people were sleeping on the job.

Or maybe the notion of a drama is better and it comes across like the government is “prihatin” or concerned when it moves speedily and prevents something from happening at the eleventh hour.

It is obvious that the government is in election mode and does not want any type of price increase to upset workers. Fair enough, that is the prerogative of the government.

But to carry on as if the telcos were the crooks and the government the knight in shining armour in this whole episode is just plain dishonest.

It facilitated the tax and now is pretending as if it just found out about it. It knew about the intention of the telcos to pass it since a daily highlighted it in May and feigned ignorance when it actually happened.

Will the government act the same when it widens the Goods and Services Tax (GST) to other sectors? After all, it did that for Astro this year and no amount of noise could get the government to review the tax. Will it only listen when it affects more people like the prepaid mobile phone service which currently has some 27 million users?

But Malaysians are used to this drama. The government is always good. The others are bad. It’s a tired, clichéd script but it works.

  1. #1 by cskok8 on Tuesday, 13 September 2011 - 8:59 pm

    If the Finance Minister did not know about this tax then he is stupid. If he knows then he is a LIAR. Take your pick.

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Tuesday, 13 September 2011 - 9:07 pm

    It is all sandiwara.

  3. #3 by ktteokt on Tuesday, 13 September 2011 - 10:00 pm

    This is a BLOODY JOKE! As though these phone companies had such authorities to impose taxes on consumers! Who is running the show now? The government or these phone companies??????

  4. #4 by vsp on Tuesday, 13 September 2011 - 10:34 pm

    Banks, telcos and toll-collectors are enjoying record profits, yet the unconscionable UMNO government decided to impose service taxes in the budget. Banks got to charge customers RM8.00 for ATM cards and RM50 for each credit card. They were also allowed to give chicken-feed interests to depositors and to impose all manner of charges for mundane services that were gratis before.

    The fact that telcos were willing to absorb the service tax initially shows that the imposition of the service tax was ill-advised. If the telcos decide to impose the service tax, the UMNO government should not shed crocodile tears because it was provided for in the budget. The money does not go directly into the telcos’ pocket but they are acting as collecting agents for the government’s treasury. People should not be quick to blame the telcos; the UMNO government is the culprit.

  5. #5 by tak tahan on Tuesday, 13 September 2011 - 10:41 pm

    Obviously the past and current leaders are still thinking they can forever fool majority Canlanders with their out-dated wayang kulit.In this case we the Rakyat opposed the tax by Telco and Umno/BN purportedly came to our rescue as kampong hero whereby in the case prior to the independent day the freedom fighters initiated the battle to free Malaya from the British colony but subsequently the meeker and more compromised Umno negotiated for merdeka and claimed to be the only and one hero.Kanniasai!Tiam tiam chou tua hi eh si gi na Umno!

  6. #6 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 14 September 2011 - 2:43 am

    D art of cheating/exploiting, learnt fr MMK

  7. #7 by cemerlang on Wednesday, 14 September 2011 - 6:57 am

    smile when in leisure smile
    when in pain
    smile when troubles pour like rain
    smile when someone hurt your feelings because you know smiling always start the healing
    smile even though there is nothing to smile about because that is the art of pretend
    smile when try singing pretend you’re happy when you are blue

  8. #8 by boh-liao on Wednesday, 14 September 2011 - 8:49 am

  9. #9 by waterfrontcoolie on Wednesday, 14 September 2011 - 9:46 am

    Talking about finance and responsibility; surely the latest report on the fiasco of PKFZ needs deep reflection on the competency of our civil service. To claim that by spending rm$4.76 billion on a thosuand acres of open land must indeed be the biggest accounting fraud in the market. With 999 acres [ to be exact] with all the requirements on building and constructions, most probably you can get 666 acre of usable land [ at the most]. This work out to be some some $7.012 million per acre; this would have cost over $160 per sq ft! How would this be marketable in the open market? Even today in the open market, the bonded warehouse within the frre zone of the ports could only charge a difference of not more than $1.00 per sq ft against the Bonded Warehouse outside. Yes, CSL also announced “we shall meet the 1st world status by 2020!” maybe only those cronies of BN would cwrtainly do so!

  10. #10 by Bigjoe on Wednesday, 14 September 2011 - 10:21 am

    You want to talk about pretending? Najib just admitted what he was really thinking about with 1Malaysia is – bumi-based meritocracy. Its nonsense intellectualism.

    That is the problem with UMNO/BN leading the country right now – it require great intellectual leadership and there is none up and down the party(ies). They are all layman intellectuals that pretend they know a lot and hoping they know enough.

    Do Najib think that Mahathir and Daim did NOT try to give their projects to the better able? It just much harder than it seems.

    The fact is the problem is there is way too many incompetent politicians who holds sway than there are people who can do the work. All that will happen is that those few people who can do the work end up owning the projects – Syed Mokhtar, Naza etc and the vast majority of Malays and milk-fed corrupt politicians will be unhappy.

    Its pretending to be an intellectual when his record is intellectual failure from the days he was in school. Its simply nonsense like what is going on with this whole service tax to be replaced by GST after the GE – its hillbillies making policies.

  11. #11 by k1980 on Wednesday, 14 September 2011 - 1:29 pm

    #7 by cemerlang

    smile even as the dna stinks and deteriorates in the rectom 56 hours after the act and declare it to be in a “pristine condition”

  12. #12 by dagen on Wednesday, 14 September 2011 - 1:52 pm

    Seriously, are we all surprised by the claim of fabrication? Look. Nothing will ever happen. And this is because umno will not act on the revelation to uncover the truth. Even if does, no consequence would flow. Maybe some ikan bilis will get fried and the issue will end right there. The police, the AG, the judiciary – they are all umno controlled since dr mamak’s time. So it is little wonder why we have lost faith in the umno gobermen.

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