KUALA LUMPUR: An emotionally-charged Lim Guan Eng revealed that refunds for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) were delayed as the money was "robbed" and spent first by the previous Barisan Nasional Government.
Lim, who is the Finance Minister, revealed in Parliament today (Aug 7) that some GST input tax refunds took up to two years as there was no money in the Government trust fund (akaun amanah).
"There was no money in the Government trust fund, the money instead went into the consolidated fund and was considered as revenue.
"That money (refund fund) was spent by the Government.
"This is why when you (Khairy Jamaluddin) said GST must be restructured (merombak), when in actual truth, it was Barisan Nasional who merompak (robbed) the GST refund, so how can you pay it back," said Lim in his winding up address on the Sales Tax Bill on Tuesday (Aug 7).
Khairy, who is Rembau MP, said the Pakatan Harapan Government should look into improving the claims mechanism for the GST, instead of implementing the SST.
Khairy said he had previously questioned the former Barisan's second Finance Minister on the reason why the input refund claims were delayed.
"I was told that one of the reasons was because even the Customs Department had disputed some of the claims that were sent, which is why the input tax claims were refunded late," said Khairy who was the former Youth and Sports Minister.
To this, Lim asked if that was the sole explanation Khairy was given for the delay.
"I am very surprised...This is a serious matter. The reason why the monies were not refunded was because it went into the consolidated fund.
"Do you realise this?" asked Lim.
Khairy then said Lim should not merely throw such allegations but come up with proof.
To this, Lim said he will provide the proof on Wednesday (Aug 8).
"I will prove it to everyone when I table the Bill to repeal GST. You should know the accounts, as a former Minister.
"If you had read them, you would know. As a minister you have the responsibility to look at the accounts and you have failed.
"The GST refund funds were robbed by the previous Barisan Government," said an emotional Lim.