REVISITING GST & CURRENT ISSUES – A MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC PERSPECTIVE BY PROF DR JACOB GEORGE

‘There has never been an audit either of past budgets delivery outcomes except the usual Auditor Generals reports which is a horror reading with filled with incompetence and villains but no arrests?’

REVISITING GST & CURRENT ISSUES  – A MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC PERSPECTIVE BY PROF DR JACOB GEORGE

Looking at the present Malaysian scenario which I have predicted will be challenged in 2022, I humbly believe any wild or ambitious argument that Malaysia should re-implement the Goods and Services Tax (GST) because other counties already have is not right!

We were there once and it was chaotic!

‘Right hand not knowing what the left was doing’ much like what is happening currently?

First because the rates were high instead of just less than 3% which I had advised!

Then with the political backlash there was a hasty retreat like many other episodes initiated by unintelligent politicians and hangers-on?

May I point out that the UN conference on Trade and Development Report 2012 had revealed in its report that the GST was more regressive in developing and transition economies than in developed counties.

Basically, I am not worried about the gravy train followers, cronies or those politically connected to the powers that be, those leading bourgeoisie lifestyles – ‘kehidupan glamour’ – you know who you are – I am worried more so now of the low- and middle-income earners, the B and M40s, individuals like me, senior citizens, with no pensions, doing pro-bono work to keep body, mind and spirit alert in trying times, who will lose a higher percentage of their income, or limited savings in my case, to pay for the GST compared with high-income earners!

And hello the transformation ‘gurus and their mantras’ – that listed out countries such as Rwanda, Zimbabwe and Cambodia to justify GST in Malaysia is also completely unsuitable because those nations do not have a good income tax system in place and their production is low.

The fact remains that Malaysia’s operating Budget is like a runaway train and is unstoppable.

Year in year out the administrative expenses is going up by at least 10% or more!

There has never been an audit either of past budgets delivery outcomes except the usual Auditor Generals reports which is a horror reading with villains but no arrests?

How much can GST help the Malaysian administration fill up the coffer and at tail end of the day it will still be unable to stop this runaway train unless the government is dead serious is converting the civil service pension to EPF contribution and curtailed on the increase in manpower intake into the civil service/public sector workforce.

You cannot continue using the civil service in its current employment obesity as a vote base!

And we know that change or transformation will never happen based on the conversation for example the one on Malaysian Airlines despite massive losses and an embarrassment to the history of aviation and administration let alone of inflated contracts that cannot be challenged?

Sink or swim the old failed methodology seems still preferred by those incompetent?

Coming back to the civil service – we are probably one of the top nations in the world today with the highest number of civil service workforce against our total national population headcount.

We have yet to make or create jobs in the private and commercial sector by making our tax rate amongst the most competitive in the region or in Asia and the business environment more open, zero corruption and less bureaucratic and the invasion of religion into the day to day lifestyles of citizens irrespective of one’s racial and religious backgrounds!

Moderation seems lost in the current environment.

True – the GST may bring in an additional RM7.0 billion but the increase in the budget spending and other seepage had gone up many folds of the additional income to be generated.

Can someone tell me how can we balance the books?

In the present hostile, chaotic political environment and fragile threatening race relationships and attacks on minorities any myth of a high income nation is simply ridiculous.

More so with the imponderables all around us in the current pandemic eco-system and the worsening of race relations, possible capital flight and migration of our finest and best brains to a more democratic and merit based society abroad.

In many societies specifically in other jurisdictions like ASEAN and APEC there are serious discussions of brave and daring recalibration to face the challenges.

Many countries in the neighborhood are doing far better than us.

They have returned to their drawing boards on policy.

Most have embarked on a food security investment never seen before.

These governments know that at the end of the day hungry people must have access to value for money food!

And they were once behind us!

Here there is fear to face the truth and change!

Here everything is racial, religious and so politically mined.

There are attempts to take Malaysia back a hundred years to be like failed states Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, several West Asian and African states with serious hostile, radical violent even theological belief unsustainable in any moderate and progressive political Eco-system.

May the ALMIGHTY help us as we go into 2022!

MALAYSIAN APEC ASEAN LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE – ARE WE AS A GLOBAL NATION DOING ENOUGH TO FIGHT CORRUPTION?

DISKRIMINASI MENJEJASKAN PERPADUAN NEGARA!
MALAYSIAN APEC ASEAN LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE – ARE WE AS A GLOBAL NATION DOING ENOUGH TO FIGHT CORRUPTION?
An open letter to the political leaders of the United States Of America, Russia, the UK, Europe, Australia, ASEAN and APEC!
When you fight against corruption, corrupt systems and peddlers of corruption whoever they are, you are targeted, you will get death threats as I have – not once but a zillion times in my career in consumerism and as Malaysia’s lead consumer advocate!
But, do we stop in fear or should we be motivated to do more, showing the perpetrators, we fear no evil!
The report read – Medicines worth RM1.2 Million stolen from a public hospital!
Another report read Officer who stole RM1 Million let off and a third read A billion ringgit airport or swimming pool and a fourth RM12 million paid to dead army veterans!
And there are multi billions being stolen too through compromised banking processes, money laundering and the using of tax havens!
I can go on and on and I cannot but feel ashamed as we are not having a conversation on corruption – the elephant in the room but on pigs, cows, frogs, belittling minority religions, strategically attacking minorities their race, religion, culture, arresting members of the civil society, and blowing beyond rational and proportions issues for a narrow racist, fascist political agenda!
Worst when whistle blowers become the target instead of the corrupt!
My God and Lord – It is embarrassing, silly and stupid to put it politely and how did we get here?
Many world sitting and challenged governments are very far from winning the war against corruption within its ranks if details of its latest report are anything to go by.
The report by their respective Public Service Commissions (PSC) and watchdogs agencies shows that efforts to rid the public sector of corruption over the years have not shown any signs of success as evidenced by the high number of acquittals or more interestingly no further action despite initial big media show times?
We are advised that over 77 per cent of all those facing corruption charges over the last four years have been set free, the report says.
And theft of public funds is the most common form of crime among all corruption cases prosecuted between 2009 and 2013.
The many acquittals have been attributed to lack of evidence as witnesses decline to come forward.
The report which assesses national values and principles in government ministries, departments and agencies gave low marks to the efforts by the government to sensitize civil servants on the war on corruption.
It was all a political show, the denial and delusional ecosystem these people were in.
Instead in several countries the tables were turned when whistle blowers and civil society members addressing big time corruption were castrated instead of those powerful and seriously tainted!
In jurisdictions of high number of prosecutions, there were an equally high number of acquittals.
For example,  an average, 77 per cent of persons prosecuted for corruption between 2009 and 2013 have been acquitted, which is nerve wrecking!
The high number of acquittals means efforts to fight corruption in places and positions of concern has not materialized!
It is evident that reducing corruption through prosecution remains difficult.
We cannot deny that fighting high powered corruption in certain countries is a nonstarter when the politicians control the entire government machinery and there is no separation of powers which is part and parcel of real democracy!
In some jurisdictions there is conflicts between civil and religious laws and the total collapse of professionalism among enforcers bring disrepute to law and order issues and judiciary pronouncements when one’s personal religious belief clouds judgment and professionalism of public office!
The process in itself also has major hurdles in several jurisdictions from murdered and uncooperative witnesses, lack of original documents and delays in the conclusion of cases in court, of compromised or sympathetic witnesses, while others are accomplices, mainly due to the fact that they might have been colleagues of the accused.
Worst case scenarios are when the entire government is in itself corrupt and repressive and draconian laws are exerted to hurt, punish and frustrate the true engagement and dialogue to combat corruption at the top!
Fighting corruption has its rewards!
But the political will must be there.
When I asked a certain a high powered official  about corruption, its statistics, how deep whose involved, his reply was shocking.
“It’s easier to tell you whose not than who is!”
Will 2022 be any different?
Blessed Christmas and a Happy New Year folks!

CASSA MALAYSIA SUPPORTS HEALTH MINISTER AND MMA CALLS FOR A BAN ON PHYSICAL CAMPAIGNING AND GATHERINGS!

And in the interest of public health, Health Minister dear friend, Khairy Jamaluddin had rightly put his foot down on all political activity that can surge both the infection and fatalities!

He has our undivided support!

CASSA MALAYSIA SUPPORTS HEALTH MINISTER AND MMA CALLS FOR A BAN ON PHYSICAL CAMPAIGNING AND GATHERINGS!

There is a debate going on in Britain!

Their infection rate is surging and there are calls to look at how Europe has addressed the pandemic!

My colleagues in Germany tell me that for example in Frankfurt, you cannot simply go grab a burger inside a restaurant, go to an indoor pool or have a drink in an indoor bar.

If one plans to you have to present either certification of full vaccination or a negative test result from the last 24 hours.

Interestingly here dedication, competence, a political will, dedication is seen!

And to address various gaps and lacuna and to address this, testing centers are literally at every corner with results available within 10-15 minutes.

That is competent planning!

Wherever you are in shops and on public transport, masks are required – and not cloth masks.

Only surgical or FFP2 medical grade masks are permitted.

They are not bothered about hypocoristic cries about the economic, as Oktoberfest, the largest beer festival in the world, was cancelled this year owing to limits on mass gatherings and international travel.

The result my dear friends in Munich Germany are managing to control their Covid epidemic and bring down the numbers of cases and deaths.

I am advised by contrasts, by both family and friends and relatives there that in England and the UK are seeing a sharp rise in cases.

Deaths are now on the increase too as this week’s daily reported toll was the highest since March.

While the UK government continues to ask people to be vigilant and keep calm and carry on, the clock is ticking.

Everyone is talking of a balance.

The mantra seems to be a formula urging minimal restriction aimed at keeping maximum economic and social activity while limiting the spread of the virus.

So I am rather disturbed that by contrast there seems to be protest by politicians in Malaysia as election fever builds up in Melaka!

I am upset at the obsession to without proper planning to lustfully open borders to outsiders.

Or to allow massive uncontrolled or not-monitored interstate travels just to please the recalcitrant communities and political base!
I am fully supportive of two recent calls made.

First Malaysia’s Health Ministry has issued a ban on political gatherings in the state from Monday (Oct 25) to Nov 27 over Covid-19 concerns.

Health Minister dear friend, Khairy Jamaluddin had rightly stated that while there will be standard operating procedures (SOP) for the state election, it will only take effect during the campaigning period from Nov 8.

And in the interest of public health, all political gatherings will now not be allowed in Melaka.

As far as I know the risk of transmission of Covid-19 remains high, especially with the transmission of the Delta variant in the community and the growing number of new cases reported, these political activities will only further increase the likelihood of more infection outbreaks.

This is criminal incompetent behavior and unfair to our exhausted, dedicated frontliners!

We have seen what political arrogance and stupidity did in Sabah and Sarawak and the infection and fatalities they brought!

For those with short memories, the  last statewide elections in Malaysia took place in Sabah in September last year, and caused a surge of Covid-19 cases that never really abated, undoing the country’s early success in containing the virus.

I was so upset for our frontliners and members of the Ministry of Health and support services!

My friends at the Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) have also appealed for a common sense approach, where they have called for ban on physical campaigning to prevent new Covid-19 wave!

If we cannot listen to the experts and if we allow again our self-serving, selfish, arrogant politicians to decide otherwise we may be in for another upsurge and more fatalities!

Our politicians have now become an embarrassment to the nation as they are only serving their greed and political power lust!

They never cared for us!

DISKRIMINASI MENJEJASKAN PERPADUAN NEGARA!

IS MALAYSIA STILL A MODERATE STATE ASKS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE

 

IS MALAYSIA STILL A MODERATE STATE ASKS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE

I have always stated both in the country and abroad, that Malaysians are grateful that we have a professional formidable counter-terrorist unit whose work has kept us all from harm’s way!

And a government with pro-active Home and Defense ministers committed to keeping Malaysia safe!

But we realize as well that our borders, entry and exits points are also very porous and the large western coastline and northern border gaps do not help as well.

Of late with the political instability and pandemic struggles the polarization, race and religious baiting have entered a higher sound byte!

Just read the comment sections of online media, especially the vernacular, to see the unadulterated venom and hate displayed.

It is all race and religion based.

The clusters behind this, vocal, strong, unashamed of their comments and political or religious leanings.

They are not disturbed that their profiles appear alongside their comments.

But the sadness is these extremist ideologies, hatred, intolerance, religious baiting and bigotry, seditious tones and utterances quite explicit cannot but put fear in the hearts and minds of majority peace loving law abiding Malaysians.

But we must ask hard questions.

Who engineered this, and are we going to address them or just pay lip service?

Records will show that the danger is real not an imagination.

We have had reports of Malaysian women apparently sympathetic to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), and have reportedly traveled to the Middle East to offer themselves sexually to militants!

Malaysia initially revealed that about 30 Malaysians might have traveled to the Middle East to join ISIS.

Let us not forget, closer to home Indonesians and Malaysians, are among foreign jihadists fighting the Philippine army in Mindanao as stated by Manila’s solicitor-general which is a rare admission that outsiders are collaborating with domestic Islamist groups.

Let us not forget that there are also reports that several terrorists have also have stints at our institution of higher education, while others gone rogue when their cover was blown!

And all these inexplicably has come back to haunt and hurt us, internationally!

As a nation, we must defend our Federal Constitution and the secular state; address these atrocities, race and religious baiting.

As such, it was a welcome sight that the Malay Rulers expressed in 2017 concerns over the eroding unity and harmony in Malaysia, in light of racially controversial issues that have taken place.

A statement from the rulers, signed by keeper of the ruler’s seal Syed Danial Syed Ahmad, read:

“In recent weeks, the actions of certain individuals have gone beyond all acceptable standards of decency, putting at risk the harmony that currently exists within our multi-religious and multi-ethnic society.”

I am glad and it is heartwarming that the Malay Rulers as a body in 2017 have found the present state of affairs in the country unhealthy and even dangerous.

Their stand supports the stand taken by our beloved His Majesty the Sultan of Johor and the Crown Prince!

I am glad that the Crown Prince of Perlis, and the Rulers have criticized the actions of “certain individuals which would further put our multi-religious and multi-ethnic society” at risk.

But it is disturbing and we are called again, to address the perception rightly or wrongly that the most dangerous groups in the country seem to be government-sponsored Muslim bodies and NGOs supposedly established to reach religious righteousness and instead preach only hatred and bigotry.

This made worse by claims of extremists and deviationist teachings by preachers, their converted students and visitors from abroad wanted by their own governments on allegations of funding terrorism and money laundering activities and others from just north of our borders with Thailand!

We must note the latter also uses children to collect monies for various causes but who is monitoring these activities and where are these monies going to?

I have never heard any of these groups advocating the virtues of peace, goodwill, love, generosity, unity in diversity and gentler aspects of their faith; instead there is only more hostility and supremacy preached.

We have state muftis supporting discrimination against non-Muslims; one mufti actually stated that it would be acceptable for non-Muslims to be killed and he is still in office, shockingly!

Was he ever charged by the laws of the nation?

Did he ever apologize?

That is not all, as we witness on a daily dose further intrusions into the rights, interests and practices of non-Muslims – from forms of worship these have spread into one’s culture, way of life, and social practices.

We have cases where a civil servant has refused to execute a court order and till today or others in governance making real progress in apprehending those who openly kidnapped Christian pastors, speculated to have been murdered?

Those behind do not even have the sensitivity or courage to go on record and state it so that families can have their funerals and religious duties performed in absentee!

By all these, what is the perception or message sent out to peace loving and law abiding Malaysians?

What is the message given to these extremists and shenanigans?

We cannot have it both ways – say one thing in international platforms self-righteously claiming moderation but in Malaysia’s ground zero closing both eyes to the continued attacks, race, religious baiting and seditious utterances that goes unattended in domestic political expediency?

Even the utter despicable treatment of animals namely dogs over cats smacks of a travesty of justice and double standards?

The question raised today is, has moderation left Malaysia for good?

DISKRIMINASI MENJEJASKAN PERPADUAN NEGARA!

SCRAP MALAYSIA MY SECOND HOME PROGRAM (MM2H) SAYS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE!

‘I find it rather strange that caution was thrown to wind at a time when, most countries have introduced various tiers of background checks to eliminate homeland and internal security risks!’

SCRAP MALAYSIA MY SECOND HOME PROGRAM (MM2H) SAYS MALAYSIA ASEAN APEC LEAD CONSUMERIST PROF DR JACOB GEORGE!

I have repeatedly raised the issues relating to Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) and the weaknesses within that system and program.

Of course, it impacted certain foreigners living here, others who have benefited in this grand hoax that MM2H is the perfect recipe for funds (transfer?) and investments brought in?

It would be also foolish to claim that MM2H had brought RM40.6bil into Malaysia, with more than RM600mil coming in just from MM2H property purchases in 2018.

Now those behind this statement please show us the hard core evidence if not shut up!

If there is any truth in that, what is the current projections post Covid 19?

It is also plain stupidity to claim that just because our economy so desperately needs financial infusion we should blindly open the barn gates!

Let us also stop that baloney that foreigners who often have a choice of where to spend their retirement years but purposefully choose Malaysia, reflects serious endorsement of what Malaysia has to offer – certain future, peace and stability.

I am sure the Home Office has enough statistics and data and the real reasons why this is happening.

 

The last thing we need is a new form of foreign colonization or “settler colonization!”

Already there are massive adverts where promoters are encouraging Westerners to escape the high costs of living in their home countries by seeking refuge in developing nations instead.

The result – these acts can drive up the cost of living in countries where locals earn a much lower wage compared to their expat counterparts.

It exploits locals who earn a comparatively low wage to their foreign counterparts, and drives up the cost of living for people who actually live in Malaysia!

Now, made worst post Covid 19!

There are advertisements which describes that expats can live comfortably for example in Penang island for as low as US$1,500 (RM6,156) per month is a classic give-a-way!

Thanks to the pandemic and the flak received from these ‘new colonists’ in ASEAN countries, it is time to immediately freeze if not terminate all together the MM2H project for good!

I fully and without reservation support the Home Ministry in addressing all matters in MM2H in the Malaysian public interest not the super wealthy billionaires whose greed knows not limits and attempt to speak as if they know what’s best for Malaysia?

So I am very grateful for the Auditor-General’s Report 2019 Series 2 which highlights all issues on this matter which shows what  certain very powerful personalities, power people, conduits and others were selling for personal greed rather than that of the nation!

Interesting is it not that a total of 1,822 Malaysia My Second Home (MM2H) programme participants left the country between 2015 and 2019 without coming back.

Are we surprised that participants from China made up the largest proportion with 920 who never returned to Malaysia, followed by Japan (214), South Korea (201) and Bangladesh (134).

I find it rather strange even bizarre, that caution was thrown to wind at a time most countries have introduced various tiers of background checks and high tech biometrics to eliminate homeland and internal security risks!

Moreover that the Auditor General’s report highlights the absence of a letter of good conduct (LOGC) requirement to verify that the dependents of the MM2H participants are free from criminal misconduct, posed a risk to national security is a great gap which should never have been!

This was not all, as it was also revealed that no LOGC was attached for 107 dependents of 59 participants as the rules did not stipulate that the letter had to be submitted and that no other method was used to verify the dependents were free from criminal misconduct in the country of origin!

Why are we being so cordial and gullible if not silly and stupid at a time international terrorism is on the rise, with sleeper agents, their financiers and others involved in scandals, scams, money laundering  freely moving and setting up base in this part of the world?

Those of us who address what is at stake with the absence of an integrated database and weaknesses in the internal controls know only too well the clear and present/future danger these poses to internal and homeland security!

Other questions had surrounded on audits and checks whether initiated on the program’s requirement of a minimum offshore income of RM10,000.00 per month.

Was this ever reviewed?

It is also strange that the MM2H participant’s children enjoy eligibility as dependents even though they are over 21 years old which must be another inexplicable and strange case limited to Malaysia’s generosity?

So much is parroted of the economic benefits from these programs but do we have digital smart cards to record information on participants’ property purchases, residential and employment for more effective monitoring purposes?

As you can see there are far too many loopholes, red flags and it is about time that we initiate a comprehensive re-look at this program and not be intimidated by various self-serving personalities take on them, to maintain the status quo, in self-interest!

My take is – it is time for a critical and comprehensive study of this program.

And the Home Office’s view for such is fully supported by me in the public and national interest!

If this is been questioned and manipulated then let us have a clear referendum on the program or better please scrap it entirely!

DISKRIMINASI MENJEJASKAN PERPADUAN NEGARA!