What’s so haram about GST

 |May 4, 2017

It appears that the religious brains such as a couple of muftis have decreed that the GST (goods and services tax) was haram (forbidden under the Islamic laws).

In that sense all Malaysians, in particular Malays-Muslims, who visit other countries, or who live/work in other countries, are committing a sin every day of their lives since you have to pay GST or VAT (value-added tax) in all other countries as well.

The reason these religious people have decreed the GST as haram is because, according to them, it burdens poor people.

I can understand that.

Haj tax

In fact, many poor people are also burdened by the almost RM2,500 tax they need to pay to go to Mekah to perform the haj.

Can you imagine a couple having to fork out RM5,000 just for tax to go to Mekah?

Some sell off their land to go to Mekah and when they come back they no longer have any land to plant padi and they become much poorer than before they went to Mekah.

That is why many old people pray they will die and get buried in Mekah because they have nothing to come back to anyway.

They are practically penniless after performing their haj.

I have not heard any religious people or mufti condemn Saudi Arabia for this tax that really burdens poor people.

In fact, these religious people or mufti encourage the poor fishermen and farmers to go to Mekah when instead they should be asking them to boycott the haj.

Saudi Arabia collects tens of billions every year from very poor and gullible people who are better off staying at home.

Then there is the cukai pintu (assessment rate) and cukai tanah (quit rent) that poor people have to pay.

Then there is the zakat (tax) and fitrah (tithe), which the religious department collects from poor people every year that comes to hundreds of millions (and if you do not pay you will get arrested).

Then these religious people go and spend that money playing the stock market and investing in companies and businesses.

Bailouts

I remember a time when the Terengganu religious department spent all its money buying up land and buildings to help bail our businessmen, who were in dire straights.

The Amanah MP for Kuala Terengganu, Raja Kamarul Bahrin Shah Raja Ahmad, can confirm this because his uncle was heading the department at that time and was the one who spent the millions buying up worthless assets just to help bail out businessmen in financial trouble during the economic recession.

Yes, money collected through zakat and fitrah was used to bail out cronies of those who walk in the corridors of power.

But this is not haram because we have never heard any religious brains or mufti speak out against it.

If you were to audit all the many religious departments all over Malaysia to determine how much money they have wasted over the last 30 years alone you will be appalled.

Money from zakat and fitrah collected from poor people have just been flushed down the toilet.

It these religious people and Mufti can show as much zeal about wastage of money or misuse of money by the religious departments all over Malaysia as they do about GST then millions can be saved and poor people will not be burdened with all this ‘religious tax’.

What about the other taxes and duties that poor people also have to pay?

GST is only the tip of the iceberg.

When poor people smoke, gas up their car or motorcycle, buy goods and services, they pay all other forms of taxes and duties as well.

Even if the GST is abolished there are still many more taxes and duties you need to pay.

Are all these haram as well and should they also be abolished?

If all taxes and duties are haram and should be abolished, then the government will have to sack many of the 1.5 million or so government servants, most of them Malays.

The government will also have to stop building new roads, schools, hospitals, and so on.

In fact, the first thing the government should stop building are new mosques because mosques really do not improve the welfare of the people, and money spent on mosques is money flushed down the toilet. – Malaysia Today

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Raja Petra Kamarudin or RPK, cousin to the Selangor Sultan, is one of Malaysia's earliest online 'citizen journalists'. He started his website in 1995 before the internet 'explosion' triggered by the Reformasi movement in September 1998. Malaysia Today was launched as a blog in August 2004 and is one of the few pioneer blogs still active and posting articles on a daily basis 24-7. RPK, 66 years old, has been writing since 1990.