Low oil prices no reason not to pay State Sales Tax, Aspirasi tells federal govt

A vehicle getting refueled at a petrol station. — DayakDaily.com file pic. // Photo: Pixabay

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KUCHING, March 18: Even though oil prices have dropped to a bottom low, Sarawak People’s Aspiration Party (Aspirasi) asserted it should not be an excuse for the federal government not to pay Sarawak the five per cent State Sales Tax for petroleum.

Party president Lina Soo stressed that it was even more imperative that the federal government settle this outstanding payment as Sarawak needs the money to combat the escalating Covid-19 situation.

“Sarawak cannot be sacrificed for the sake of Peninsular Malaysia, as we have done for the past 57 years,” she emphasised in a press statement today.

Soo also urged the federal government to impose a six-month moratorium on tax, debt and loan repayments, without interest or penalties for all debtors following Italy which suspended mortgage payments as part of measures to soften the economic blow of the novel coronavirus on households following the country’s lockdown.

She opined that a global recession was inevitable in view of the fact that economic growth was at a 10-year-low, stock markets were haemorrhaging while the ringgit continues to slide.

“Both federal and state governments must come up with economic measures to provide support to the population trying to grapple with the economic fallout from Covid-19.

“The governments need to provide a financial fallback for households and businesses whose budgets and balance sheets have been upended by the crisis.

“Many are suffering from indefinite no-pay leave, loss of jobs, and reduced business activities, yet they must worry about mortgage, rent, food and household utilities,” she added.

Soo noted that Bank Negara Malaysia was holding interest rates at three per cent, whilst the United States of America (US) Federal Reserve and many central banks have reduced their rates to 0.5 per cent or zero per cent.

As such, she also urged that the Sales and Services Tax (SST) be scrapped and replaced with the Goods and Services Tax (GST) not exceeding five per cent. — DayakDaily