Reports by MARTIN CARVALHO, HEMANANTHANI SIVANANDAM, RAHIMY RAHIM and LOSHANA K. SHAGAR
THE Sales Tax Bill was passed after a motion by Barisan Nasional to have a Parliamentary Select Committee study it was rejected.
The motion, proposed by Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee (BN-Beluran), was backed by 51 Opposition lawmakers, with 111 Pakatan MPs rejecting it.
Earlier, an emotionally charged Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said in winding up the debate that the reason why refunds on the input tax for the Goods and Services Tax (GST) were delayed was that the previous government had spent the money first.
He said some of the refunds took up to two years as there was no money in the government trust fund.
He took a jibe at Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau), who suggested that the GST should be dirombak (restructured), saying Barisan had merompak (robbed) the GST refunds.
Khairy had said Pakatan Harapan should look into improving the claims mechanism for the GST instead of implementing the SST, adding that he had previously questioned the former second finance minister on why the input refund claims were delayed.
“I was told that one of the reasons was because the Customs Department had disputed some of the claims sent, which is why the claims were refunded late,” said Khairy.
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 funds were not refunded was that it went into the consolidated account. Did you realise this?” asked Lim.
Khairy then said Lim should not make such allegations without any evidence.
To this, Lim said he would provide the proof today: “I will prove it when I table the Bill to repeal the GST. If you read the accounts, you would know. As a minister, you had the responsibility to look at them and you failed.”
He said Pakatan could not guarantee prices of goods would go down once the SST kicked in, but it would do its best to control prices.
He also appealed to the Dewan Negara, which now comprises mainly Barisan representatives, to support the Bills and respect the decision made by the people who voted in Pakatan during the general election.
The Service Tax Bill will be debated today.
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