KUALA LUMPUR,. The new Pakatan Harapan government will ensure that the removal of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) and reintroduction of fuel subsidies will not adversely affect the national economy, says Tun Daim Zainuddin.
Daim, who is a member of the newly formed Team of Eminent Persons, said the members had the relevant expertise and experience to handle the task.
“We have got to analyse GST and fuel subsidies. Once we have removed GST, we will then get rid of corruption and wastage and become more efficient.
“We have done it before, (for) 57 years there was no GST, there was no problem.
“We can handle this. There is no reason why the economy would be at stake and be worse off, don’t worry,” he said after chairing a meeting with the team here on Saturday.
The others in the five-member team are former Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, former Petronas president and CEO Tan Sri Hassan Marican, economist Prof Jomo Kwame Sundaram and billionaire Robert Kuok, who was not present at the meeting as he was abroad.
Daim said fund managers were more worried about the GST.
“They are afraid that the debt would increase. We are not going to increase the debt anymore. We are not stupid.
“This is unnecessary speculation. This is a normal reaction when a new government takes over. How could there be uncertainty as the manifesto is there and everything is there,” he added.
Daim said the team would not disclose how the Government would mitigate shortfalls arising from removing the GST and reinstating fuel subsidies.
He also said the team would take pertinent steps to restore investor confidence.
“First is GST, then we will call officers in the ministries to brief us on the mega projects, on the national debt, on government-linked companies like Tabung Haji, Mara and Felda, and also address the ringgit,” he added.
On the 1MDB probe, Daim said a special task force would be set up immediately under the purview of the team.
The team has already identified those who could assist in the probe and in the recovery of billions of ringgit allegedly stolen from the fund, he said, adding that the team would later submit a report to the Government.
Solving the 1MDB fiasco was among the promises made by Pakatan Harapan in its 10-point manifesto for GE14.
Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, in announcing the setting up of the team, said it would assist the new government in implementing the pledges made by Pakatan within its first 100 days in power.