Malay Mail Online
KUALA LUMPUR, April 9 — The Congress of Unions of Employees in the Public and Civil Services (Cuepacs) declared its support for Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak at a press conference this evening.
“Under the prime minister’s leadership, there has been remarkable achievement,” said Cuepacs president Datuk Azih Muda, adding that Cuepacs did not wish to see a change of leadership in Barisan Nasional, as it would adversely affect the public sector.
“Cuepacs gives our full support to PM Najib,” Cuepacs Secretary General Lok Yim Pheng agreed.
Having said that, however, Cuepacs also said many members of the public are bristling at the Goods and Services Tax (GST) that came into effect at the beginning of this month.
“The prices of everything have increased,” Azih Muda said, “the price of taxi fares, even (the price of) groceries.”
Azih Muda said civil servants in particular are struggling with GST, and that many of them are now finding it hard to buy a house. Meanwhile, Lok also urged the government to increase their wages.
“We hope that the government will revise the wages of public servants,” Lok said.
Azih Muda clarified however that he did not agree with those who used dissatisfaction over GST as a rallying call against the prime minister.
“GST isn’t an issue to change the leadership,” he insisted.
Prime Minister Najib Razak is facing growing pressure to resign, particularly from former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, who has in the past described the current administration as “weak”.
In his recent remarks, Dr Mahathir said he could no longer remain silent and that the days for diplomacy have long passed, adding that he will now push for Najib’s resignation openly due to his alleged failure to address several allegations of impropriety.
Detractors argue that the GST is “regressive” and that the broad-based consumption tax takes a larger percentage of income from those in the low-income groups rather than from high-income earners.
Economists, however, view the GST favourably, saying that it is necessary to broaden the tax base, but cautioned the government to cut wastage and leakages at the same time to improve the country’s finances.