PETALING JAYA: The Pakatan Harapan Government should form a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) for the alleged RM35bil shortfall in refunds for income tax and Goods and Services Tax (GST), says Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
The former premier said this was necessary to ascertain whether the previous Barisan Nasional government, Customs Department and the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) had committed criminal breach of trust (CBT) or if it was just another of Pakatan’s political ploy.
“I was informed that Lim Guan Eng was asked to give a statement to the police based on a report lodged by Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin.
“He (Lim) did not even lodge the report himself based on his allegations that Barisan had robbed RM18bil of GST funds during a parliament session, as it grants him immunity.
“This is a smart move on his part as lodging a false report is wrong in the eyes of the law,” Najib said in a Facebook post on today (Aug 24).
On the three recent questions on GST posted to him recently by Lim, Najib said his answers were: "No, no and no".
“Suddenly, Lim made another allegation that the IRB under the Barisan government had committed CBT because they did not pay refunds for income tax and real property gains tax amounting to RM16.046bil, from the past up to May 31.
“The government collects some RM130bil income tax each year. If (over) 10 years, the amount will be RM1.3 trillion. If it is true RM16bil was not refunded, then it is only 1% of the total tax collected in 10 years,” he said.
There were many reasons why the IRB could not pay the refunds, including workers' factor or a foreign company which was no longer operational in the country, or even because the company had closed down, he added.
“In fact, the use of set-off tax credits is not unusual and it is commonly used in our country and others as well.
“I found it peculiar that Pakatan MPs never raised this issue previously before they formed a government. If there are 1,635,786, cases involving companies, individuals, associations and foundations, it should have been a big issue before this,” Najib said.
He added that it was even weirder that, like the RM18bil GST case, Lim only realised the issue of the RM16.046bil in overpaid income tax after three months.
“I am also puzzled that while Barisan was the government, it was never an issue, but when Pakatan assumed power, such issues are cropping up more. However, when asked to lodge a police report, he (Lim) refused.
“If Lim wants to continue to allege that the Barisan government had no funds to pay or all of such funds had been stolen, it is definitely not true.
“Based on the last financial statement of 2017, the Malaysian government had RM18bil cash at the end of 2017, including RM8.914mil in hand and RM7.749mil in fixed deposits for the period of three months and below,” he said.
The Pekan MP said the Pakatan Government lost about RM31bil in revenue due to the three-month tax holiday.
“Most probably, Lim only realised the move to impose the tax holiday and changing GST to SST are wrong decisions after three months.
“Due to such economic mismanagement by the new government, they are now pointing their fingers at the previous Barisan government as a means to cover up their own mistakes,” he said.
It was not necessary to entertain politically motivated allegations or debate with those who might not understand how the government’s policy or cash flow was managed, Najib said.“However, I believe the rakyat must know and understand what is really happening based on facts,” he said.