- Published on Sunday, 13 April 2014 19:57
KUALA LUMPUR: Support for the controversial Goods and Services Tax (GST) among urban young has almost tripled since November last year, according to a new survey by Umno Youth-backed Akademi Pemuda.
In the results released this week, Akademi Pemuda also noted that disapproval towards the consumption tax among the demographic has halved over the same period, with the majority opinion on the topic now neutral.
The online part of the study, which measured sentiments towards the tax based on mentions in the social media, noted that positive mentions have increased from 9 per cent in November 2013 to 25 per cent in April 2014.
Negative mentions fell from 61 per cent to 33 per cent in the same period, while neutral mentions rose from 30 per cent to 42 per cent.
However, negative mentions still outweighed the positive, at 36 per cent to 23 per cent.
At 41 per cent, neutral mentions were the most prevalent.
In total, the study surveyed 120,512 social media updates containing the word “GST” originating in Malaysia, between October 16, 2013 to April 10, 2014.
The study also claimed a correlation between the understanding of GST with one’s acceptance of the tax.
It found that out of those who expressed positive sentiments about GST, 77 per cent of them claimed to understand it.
In comparison, nearly half of those who expressed negative sentiments claimed that they do not understand GST, with only 52 per cent understanding it.
Additionally, among those with neutral sentiments, only a quarter claimed to have understood GST.
The study did not disclose how it measured the grasp of GST among their online respondents.
For their field study, the group surveyed 300 youths staying in urban areas between April 8 to April 10, 2014.
Among others, the study found that 56 per cent of respondents preferred online methods and social media for communications, 26 per cent over mass media, and 18 per cent through face-to-face.
The study also claimed that Facebook was the most preferred medium for the respondents to learn about GST, followed by television, website, newspapers and radio.
Putrajaya has gone on an advertising blitz to promote awareness of GST since its implementation was announced in Budget 2014 last year.
Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan had announced in Parliament last month that RM17 million has been allocated for its promotion, which will cover advertisements in newspapers, billboards, blogs, and social media.
The benefits of GST also had been touted among Muslims nationwide in the official Friday sermon prepared by the Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) yesterday.
After just two days of debate, the controversial GST Bill was passed in Dewan Rakyat on Monday, the lower house of parliament, with 119 votes for and 81 votes against.
The Bill also went through the committee stage reading with no amendments, ensuring that the consumption tax starts at a flat rate of six per cent beginning April 1 next year.