Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Organisers of anti-GST rally determined to converge at Dataran Merdeka

KUALA LUMPUR: Organisers of a May Day rally to protest the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) are dead set on converging at Dataran Merdeka.
Representatives from Pakatan Rakyat and the coalition of 89 non-governmental organisations planning the rally have, however, assured police that all stipulations would be adhered to.
The assurance was given following an hour-long meeting between PKR vice-president Tian Chua, PAS deputy president Mat Sabu and DAPSY (Democratic Action Party Socialist Youth) chief Teoh Kok Seong with Dang Wangi OCPD ACP Zainuddin Ahmad at the district headquarters here, Monday.
“The police did not have a problem with the rally as long as the suggestions they made are fulfilled to ensure there is no inconvenience and that public order is maintained,” Tian Chua told reporters.
Among the stipulations were for participants to obey all laws during the rally and for organisers to ensure that the notice to hold the rally be been given before the deadline.
Tian Chua said organisers would discuss the suggestion by police to use a different venue however, as of now, the rally would go on as planned at Dataran Merdeka.
Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia (SAMM) chief Badrul Hisham Shaharin, however, said organisers were determined to hold the rally at Dataran Merdeka.
“Every night in Dataran there are people gathering, so I do not see why there would be a problem if a group of people would like to gather there to protest against GST. We held the New Year’s Eve rally there as well when it was under renovation and there were no injuries or untoward incidents,” he told The Star.
Badrul Hisham, or Chegubard, however assured authorities that participants of the rally would obey any directive by the police or Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL).
“We will not cross any line and are ready to cooperate to ensure the gathering is incident free,” he said.
The May 1 rally, which coincides with International Worker’s Day, is expected to see protesters gathering at several points in the city centre, namely KLCC, Masjid India, Sogo and Brickfields at 12pm before marching to Dataran Merdeka at 2pm.
The GST will be enforced at a rate of 6% and will replace the Sales and Services tax on April 1, 2015.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the 6% GST rate, which is expected to help the government tackle its budget deficit, was the lowest in Asean countries, with Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Philipines and Laos capping theirs at 10% and Singapore at 7%.

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