Disabled Indians Discriminated in New Malaysia - by Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat.

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Friday, 8 May 2015

NGOs for disabled to protest GST outside Parliament

NGOs for disabled to protest GST outside Parliament

 | May 8, 2015
Wheelchairs and colostomy bags are basic, everyday needs when one is disabled but these items are still subject to the GST
G. Francis Siva

RAWANG: A coalition of NGOs for the disabled, unhappy with the increase in prices of items essential to them, will bring the matter forth to Parliament if there is no change.
President of Independent Living and Training Centre (ILTC) G. Francis Siva was responding to the 6% Goods and Services Tax (GST).
Before the implementation of the GST on April 1, assistive equipment and essential disposable items were not subjected to the sales tax and import duty.
Siva said that these items, such as catheters, colostomy bags, wheelchairs, and various assistive tools are extremely important as they are used by disabled people on a daily basis.
These are basic needs when one is disabled.
Now, the GST has added another 6% into their expenses while their allowance has only increased by just RM50 a month.
At the same time, Members of Parliament gave themselves a RM 4,500 pay rise, said Siva.
“We as a coalition of NGOs will sit outside in theNEXT Parliament session to protest, as we have no other choice,” he said in frustration.
GST exemptions can be made if these items are purchased from the Disabled People Organisation (DPO), which isREGISTERED with the Department of Social Welfare.
However, information on the exemption has not been properly disseminated and there are many disabled people who are not members of the DPO.
“Many disabled people aren’tREGISTERED with the DPO because of shame,” said Siva.
He also pointed out that they had transportation problems.
Earlier this week, The Borneo Post wrote a report on the scarcity of information regarding the GST exemptions.
“We were not given proper information on how to apply for the exemptions.
“Customs officers asked us to write to the GSTPROCESSING Centre in Kelana Jaya. Then they asked us to write to the Ministry of Finance. They do not have a standard operating procedure,” said Law King Kiew, disabled rights activist and a Paralympian.
Law, who has a spinal cord injury, now has to pay more for catheters and urine drainage and colostomy bags.
“There are no guidelines given to us and there was no form of discussion between NGOs and the Ministry before the implementation,” Siva said.
“There must be a standard operating procedure by the Ministry toADDRESS this issue,” Siva said, echoing similar calls from other NGOs.
He suggested that the government use the identification card issued by the welfare department to waive GST, as the same document is used for air ticket discounts, free road tax renewal, free telephone lines and free international passports.
“The card should be shown to cashiers before paying, so that GST can be waived.”
According to Siva, public donations have gone down ever since the implementation of the GST.
“This affects us as ourFUNDING mostly relies on public donations. The government only gives us RM5,000 a year,” he said.
“I strongly urge the government to take another look into this matter and ensure that the GST is waived for disabled people,” he stressed.

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