Two short announcements for the day:

First, The donation to Tabung Harapan is now closed. We already transferred the amount to Tabung Harapan.

(The amount is redacted, for obvious reason)

Here we would like to thank the kindle fans for sticking with us, and some have even gone to the extend of matching our contribution.

Second, just in case you didn’t notice, we have adjusted the price for Kindle Paperwhite, in response of the SST. We will adjust the price for other models, once the new batch comes in and custom charges SST on them.

Musings:

Since we talk about tax here, I’ll take this opportunity to reflect a bit on SST, and its predecessor, GST.

SST is a government tax that is applied at the start of the trading chain, unlike GST where the government intends to get a total of 6% out of every transaction. The logic is that since only selected items are amenable to SST, and since it is being charged only at start, the final cost would not be very much inflated. GST, on the other hand, could and did create at least 6% ( or more) inflation in price.

As a business operator, we actually prefer GST over SST, for it is clearer, more standardized, and fairer ( because it applies to almost every item). The application of SST, on the other hand, is shrouded in ambiguity, subjected to item categorization which is very subjective.

There are cases where the entire chain of trading is not being torched by SST, but there are cases where the consumers are being charged twice in the end. An example: an accounting firm buys accounting software ( which is amenable to SST, 6%), and then the firm sells its service to individuals or businesses, which it charges an extra 6% SST. The total extra cost is then more than 6% as intended by the government.

Not only that, items can be categorized differently, and different categories have different SST rates. Good luck in arguing with custom if you think that their categorization is unfair. They always win.

There is a price to pay for everything. And the price we paid for getting rid of a corrupted government, is a taxation system that is less fair, less transparent and messier ( at least to the business operator).

In my view, the previous government did many things wrong, but it at least did one thing right– GST. But the thing that ultimately broke the camel’s back, is the one major right thing it did. All the wrong things didn’t really sink the previous government. How very ironic. Corruption? Malaysians have a high degree of tolerance towards corruption since the very beginning. Unable to maintain racial and religious harmony? No, Malaysia did have the tendency to slide into religious fanaticism all these while, at least before 509. Tun Mahathir? He is a great man and he did help a lot, yes, but without proper circumstances he couldn’t do anything.

And even Giga-scandal 1MDB was not enough to sink the BN mighty ship– lots of people simply can’t comprehend that many zeros. Human minds, after all, were built to escape lions and tigers at Africa savanna, not to perform arithmetic dexterity.

The only reason why people turned against the previous government en masse was because the living cost was high, (no) thanks to GST. 6% immediate increment! And more often than not the increment is more than that, because after all, not all input tax can be claimed back, and those that are not, are translated into costs on end users. How can you not feel the difference? Only stupid people, like a previous minister with a stellar 3.85 CGPA  (whom I am too embarrassed to name here), would think GST did not burden the people.

Which brings me to the point: democracy doesn’t always work, at least it wouldn’t solve all of our problems.

Yes, it did solve the corrupted government problem– and this is a very major problem mind you. But then, it introduced another problem, a less fair taxation system. And the taxation system problem is not the collateral damage of solving the corruption problem, it’s not something that you must get if you want to get rid of mountains of Bijan Bags; the majority of the people actually want SST, in place of GST, nevermind the shortcomings.

But maybe we as Malaysians should be thankful, at least we are not like Britain or US, where democracy brought on Brexit and Donald Trump, the very thing that democracy and liberalism stood against. LIke the “I’m always lying” paradox, democracy and liberalism seem self-defeating at times. And don’t get me started on Socrates and Jesus death; both of men died because democracy demanded them to. It’s the People who killed them, the People’s Wish! So much for the People’s Power.

So it’s OK if you grow despair and disenchanted with democracy and liberalism. And if you do, I urge you to read the latest book by Yuval Noah Harari: 21 Lessons for the 21st Century. The opening chapters are talking about the liberalism ideals and the disillusionment.

Bookstores Prices Savings
Kinokuniya Malaysia MYR 79.90 (Paperback)
MYR140.36 (Hardcover)
Kindle Store IndiaINR 418 MYR 24 232%
Kobo MalaysiaNot Sold in Malaysia MYR 59

 

We can talk about it when we finish reading, till then, enjoy your Saturday.

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