GST refund money not missing but Act violated (Updated)

15 Jul 2019 / 18:26 H.

KUALA LUMPUR: No money has gone missing from the goods and services tax (GST) refund. Instead it was transferred into a consolidated revenue account instead of the GST Refund Account, according to the Public Accounts Committee.

Nonetheless, PAC chairman Datuk Noraini Ahmad said, transferring the funds to another account was a violation of the GST Act 2014.

In a statement issued ahead of the tabling in the Dewan Rakyat of the investigation report on the purportedly missing funds, Noraini said the shortfall was the result of a technical error.

In July last year, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng alleged that the Barisan Nasional administration “robbed” the country of an estimated RM19 billion meant for GST refunds.

“There was no loss of funds from GST revenue collections. The revenue was not transferred to the GST refund pool but was used to fund management and development expenses,“ Noraini said.

“The previous government overestimated the net GST collections by 65%,“ she said.

Later in Dewan Rakyat, the opposition proposed a motion to refer Lim to the Rights and Privileges Committee for misleading the House on the GST refund issue.

Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (BN-Bera), who made the proposal, said that Lim had confused the Dewan and the Opposition would like to use Standing Order 36 (12) to refer him to the Rights and Privileges Committee.

In response Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Nga Kor Ming told Ismail Sabri to formally write in for a decision on the matter.

Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau) then interjected and said that referring an MP to the Rights and Privileges Committee could be done in two ways — through a written request or verbally for an immediate decision by the Speaker.

Khairy reasoned that this matter was current and needed to be debated in this Parliament meeting, which ends on Thursday.

Nga said that all the points raised by the lawmakers were noted, however an immediate decision could not be made at the moment and the decision taken would be based on the laws and the Standing Orders.

Later at a press conference, Ismail said he would be submitting an official letter for Lim’s reference to the Speaker’s office immediately.

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