KUALA LUMPU: A â€˜cynicalâ€™ query by an Opposition MP on whether the Goods and Services Tax (GST) will be imposed during next year’s Merdeka Day celebrations resulted in a reprimand by the Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia (pic).
Lim Lip Eng (DAP-Segambut) in his supplementary question on Wednesday had asked if the cost for Merdeka Day celebrations next year will be escalate, due to GST, which will be enforced next April.
He also asked how will the Government reduce the cost in celebrating these occasions and suggested that the Government focus on Hari Kebangsaan (national day) on Sept 16 as it will unite those in the Peninsular and East Malaysia.
To this, Communications and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek said Lim does not know the difference between Merdeka Day and Malaysia Day celebrations.
Merdeka or National day is celebrated on Aug 31 while Malaysia Day is celebrated on Sept 16.
Ahmad Shabery said the Government spends wisely for the celebrations and poked fun at Lim’s querry on GST and its relations to the celebrations.
“Do you think we will be collecting GST at Dataran Merdeka? You don’t seem to understand about GST,” replied Ahmad Shabery.
He also said the cost of the National day celebrations have been reduced from RM20 mil spent in 2012 and 2013 to RM17mil spent this year.
Ahmad Shabery also said there are sponsors from private firms to ensure it does not dampen the celebrations.
For example, he said cinema operators are asked to play the national anthem a few days before Merdeka until Sept 16
“Cinemas also play trailers (of Merdeka) and they do not charge us however DAP feels that the playing of the national anthem is something embarrassing,” said Ahmad Shabery referring to Bandar Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen who criticised the playing of Negaraku in cinemas in a Facebook post this year.
Chong had said playing the national anthem in cinemas was a “disgrace and ridiculous.”
The DAP vice-chariman and Sarawak chairman however retracted his post several hours later and apologised for the comment.
Pandikar then interjected and said he allowed the Minister to answer in that manner as Lim’s questions sounded cynical. “I need to be fair. So this is a reminder, when you ask a question, do not trigger arguments.
“If you do not want your questions to be answered in a cynical manner, then do not ask cynical questions,” said Pandikar.-The Star