Stephanie Augustin KUALA LUMPUR (April 19, 2010) :This year's Workers Day will be celebrated with a rally themedGST: Makes Poor Pooreron May 1, the May Day Working Committee announced yesterday.
With leaders of worker's groups, women NGOs and youth representatives slated to speak on various issues, the peaceful rally will start at Dataran Merdeka at 11am and end at the state Inland Revenue Board offices in Kampung Attap.
"We reject Goods and Services Tax (GST) because it creates particular pressure on workers and low-income groups, " Malaysian Socialist Party (PSM) secretary-general S. Arutchelvan told a press conference to outline the committee's May Day demands and today.
"Although the Bill was pulled from a second Parliament reading, it has not been completely withdrawn," he said, adding that the committee is hoping for more than 1,000 to show up for the rally as it is both a Saturday and public holiday.
"PAS will mobilise our supporters to join the rally although we hope everyone will will be involved," said PAS treasurer Dr Hatta Ramli.
"From experience, we know that when people go to the streets, it affects the government's stand on issues that is thought to be not in the people's interest," he said, adding that given time and money, the government will push for the Bill again.
"We don't want the GST as a a precursor to a high income society. Instead, a high income society should come first, then not only GST but all the other kinds of taxes will be introduced and people will be more willing," he said.
Network of Opressed People (JERIT) event coordinator E. Nalini said that the commitee had spread its May Day declarations to community groups and are hoping to get 100 endorsements for their anti-GST stance.
"We will send a letter to the Bukit Aman police not for a permit, but to inform them that we will be holding a peaceful gathering," Nalini added.
Other demands include the introduction of a Minimum Wage Act, 90 days' maternity leave, migrant workers and refugee rights and a need-based economic policy.
"With no Minimum Wage Act, the GST will be an added burden to the majority of workers, whose total monthly household income is below RM3, 000," Voice of Malaysian Citizens (SUARAM) campaign coordinator Yap Heng Lung said.