Any action over Guan Eng’s claim of missing GST refunds, asks MP

(FMT) – A Barisan Nasional (BN) MP today asked Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz whether action would be taken against his predecessor Lim Guan Eng over his claim that RM19.4 billion in goods and services tax (GST) refunds had been stolen.

“Will the minister explain?” Ahmad Maslan (BN-Pontian) said during the question-and-answer session at the Dewan Rakyat here today.

Deputy Finance Minister Mohd Shahar Abdullah said the matter would be referred to the government agencies which previously issued statements on the issue.

Noting that the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) had said in July 2019 that the money was not stolen, he said it had in fact been used for the country’s development.

He also said the finance ministry would improve the cash flow for the collection and disbursement of GST collections.

Shahar, who is Paya Besar MP, said the collection for the sales and services tax (SST) was much less, at RM27.56 billion in 2019 compared to over RM40 billion for GST.

He added that the government would no longer hold the money, allowing companies the cash flow to run their businesses.

He was responding to Amiruddin Hamzah (independent-Kubang Pasu) who said the lack of immediate GST refunds could cause cash flow problems for companies during the economic slowdown due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Last year, PAC chairman Noraini Ahmad said the RM19.4 billion highlighted by Lim had been used to pay for the government’s management and development expenditure.

She also said the previous BN government had channelled the money collected from GST into a consolidated revenue account.

The money was later transferred in stages to the GST refund consolidated fund, as decided by the GST Refund Committee.

Lim said in August 2018 that the BN government had failed to pay RM19.4 billion in GST refunds from the date of its implementation to May 31, 2018.

He also said there was only RM1.49 billion left in the repayment fund.