Malaysia’s new parliament to meet on Jul 16; anti-fake news law, GST to be scrapped

Malaysia’s new parliament to meet on Jul 16; anti-fake news law, GST to be scrapped

Mahathir Mohamad cabinet meeting Jun 6
Malaysia's Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad at a press conference after the Cabinet meeting on Wednesday (Jun 6). (Photo: Melissa Goh)

KUALA LUMPUR: The first parliament sitting under the new Pakatan Harapan government will be held on Jul 16 and it will go on for 20 days, announced Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Wednesday (Jun 6).

His government has a long to-do list, having promised to abolish several laws since it won the May 9 general election.

“The Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be abolished. The Anti-Fake News Act will also be abolished, as well as the other laws we promised,” Dr Mahathir told a news conference after the weekly Cabinet meeting.

The GST has been zero-rated since Jun 1, but parliamentary approval is needed to do away with the tax and reintroduce the sales and services tax (SST), which will partly offset the shortfall in revenue from scrapping the GST. 

Dr Mahathir also confirmed that he is studying the possibility of deferring or cancelling altogether the Chinese-backed US$14 billion East Coast Rail Project, which he said was costing more money than it was making progress. 

Nearly a month after Pakatan Harapan won the elections, some Cabinet positions still remain vacant. Dr Mahathir said he had hoped to fill the positions this week, but that it was likely to happen only next week. The 93-year-old is set to leave for Tokyo to attend the three-day Future of Asia conference on Jun 10. 

Dr Mahathir also announced that the entertainment allowance for senior government servants on grade Jusa A and above will be deducted by 10 per cent effective July this year.

“This is part of the government's austerity drive,” he said. The salaries of Cabinet ministers have already been cut by 10 per cent, as announced in May.

At the news conference, Dr Mahathir confirmed the resignation of central bank governor Muhammad Ibrahim. No concrete reason was given for the resignation and the replacement will only be announced upon the king's approval, he added. 

The prime minister dismissed rumours that the government was seeking to replace top jobs at national stock exchange Bursa Malaysia and Petronas. 

Source: CNA/hs/(gs)