Barisan Alternatif never agreed to a kharaj tax for non-Muslims and it is neither in the Barisan Alternatif common manifesto or the BA 2000 budget


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang
 

(Petaling Jaya,  Thursday): A PAS Terengganu state government leader told the Nanyang Siang Pao in an interview which appeared today that PAS had intended to introduce the kharaj tax for non-Muslims to replace the income tax if PAS had won  the Federal Government in the general election.

The chairman of the Trengganu State Education, Dakwah and Syariah Committee, Harun Taib, said that as PAS only won the Terengganu state government, it could only introduce the kharaj in Terengganu.

He said non-Muslims can choose to pay either income tax or the proposed kharaj, and need not fear having to pay twice.

In the first place, the question of PAS winning the Federal government on its own in the recent general election never arose, as PAS contested in 63 Parliamentary seats and it would not be able to form a Federal government on its own even if it had won all the 63 seats it contested.

Secondly, Barisan Alternatif never agreed to a kharaj tax for non-Muslims and it is neither in the Barisan Alternatif common manifesto "Towards A Just Malaysia"  or the Barisan Alternative  2000 budget presented two days before the Finance Minister, Tun Daim Zainuddin, tabled  the governmentís 2000 budget in Parliament.

The kharaj issue was never raised once in the Barisan Alternatif Leadersí Council which met for about ten months before the Nov. 29, 1999 general election.

The Barisan Alternatif common manifesto made four specific proposals to "Reduce the tax burden", and there was no reference to kharaj, namely:
 

Thirdly, the possibility of the Barisan Nasional Federal Government agreeing to the PAS Terengganu state governmentís proposal that non-Muslims who pay kharaj can be exempted from paying income tax is as good as nil.

According to the Nanyang Siang Pao report today, Harun said that the Terengganu PAS government would only explain to various sectors of society after the kharaj enactment had been approved by the Terengganu state assembly.

At the Barisan Alternatif Leadersí Council meeting yesterday, DAP had proposed that the PAS Terengganu should conduct the fullest consultation with all sectors of society, both inside and outside Terengganu, before the kharaj bill is introduced in the Terengganu state assembly.  This would also  show that the Barisan Alternatif parties are more committed than the Barisan Nasional to the principles of public consultation, accountability and transparency.

At the Barisan Alternatif Leadersí Council meeting, DAP also proposed that the Barisan Alternative set up a special committee to study kharaj and all other measures to ensure that they do not infringe on the rights and sensitivities of diverse races and religions in the country as well as do not violate the Barisan Alternatif common manifesto "Towards A Just Malaysia" - both in letter and spirit.

(9/12/99)


*Lim Kit Siang - DAP National Chairman