PAC to close case on ‘missing’ GST returns

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 24 Oct 2018

The Parliament’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) expects to wind up its proceedings with regard to the “missing” RM19.4bil Goods and Services Tax (GST) credit returns by the end of this Parliament meeting in December.

PAC chairman Datuk Seri Ronald Kiandee said the committee will wind up the case after the last witness, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng, is called on Monday (Oct 30), and present the outcome in Parliament.

“We hope to wind up this case before the end of this Parliament meeting,” Kiandee told reporters yesterday.

Former Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah and Customs Department director-general Datuk Seri T. Subromaniam testified before the PAC here yesterday.

PAC deputy chairman Wong Kah Woh said Mohd Irwan and Subromaniam, who had both testified twice, provided much information to the committee.

“After this we are also calling former finance minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and Lim.

“From there we will conclude our proceedings on GST,” said Wong, adding that Najib is set to appear before the committee at 11am today.

In August, the Dewan Rakyat was told that the previous government had not been able to refund companies their tax credit from the implementation of the GST because 93% of the money was not placed in the correct account.

Lim had alleged that some RM18bil of the RM19.4bil input tax credit under the GST was “robbed” by the previous administration.

He said that as at May 31, the outstanding GST refund stood at RM19.39bil, whereas there was only a balance of RM1.486bil in the repayment fund.

Lim said from the total input tax credit, RM9.2bil or 47% was recorded between Jan 1 and May 31 this year, RM6.8bil or 35% in 2017, RM2.8bil (15%) in 2016, and RM600mil (3%) in 2015 (from April 1 to Dec 31, 2015).

Under the GST, the input tax cre­dit allowed businesses to reclaim credit for taxes paid on purchases, subject to filing of input tax documents.

On another note, Wong said the PAC has filed a motion to suspend a rule that prevents it from opening proceedings to the public.

But the PAC hit several legal snags in attempting to open them up, he said.

“The chairman and myself are of the view that all proceedings, apart from those touching on security issues, shall be open to the public.

“But at the moment we are tied up with Order 85 of the Standing Order that prohibits us from opening the proceedings to the public,” he said.

Wong filed a motion to suspend Order 85 on Monday but upon further study, discovered another legal impediment, which is Section 9 of the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act.

“This expressly prohibits any reports of the committee or any evidence adduced in the committee be made public prior to the report,” he said.

Wong said efforts are being made by Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof and also the PAC to have an open hearing despite the legal impediments.

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