KUALA LUMPUR: Lim Guan Eng (pic) says he is ready to fight the Opposition who want him referred to the Rights and Privileges Committee for supposedly misleading the Dewan Rakyat on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) refund issue.
The Finance Minister said he had expected the Opposition to raise the issue.
"The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report never touched on that, that is something the Opposition wants to raise. And if they raise it we will face it and fight them," he said during a press conference on Tuesday (July 16).
Last August, Lim had told Parliament that RM19.4bil in GST refunds had been "robbed".
The PAC in its report on Monday (July 15) said no money was missing from the GST refunds, but the refunds were used for government expenditure and development instead.
Lim said that the PAC used wording which he termed as "in line with parliamentary customs", but its meaning was obvious.
"Look at what was said by the Attorney General. I respect what was said by the PAC and if you look their summary and recommendations, they did not touch on this," he said, claiming that the issue was being raised to avert attention from Datuk Seri Najib Razak's trial, among other things.
When asked why he used the word "robbed", Lim did not give a direct reply and said: "We are talking about the PAC report. You want me to depart from the PAC report? I can, but then you are not asking me about the PAC report anymore."
Lim said what was important was to ensure that the money was returned to whom it belonged to.
"If the money is allocated for a specific purpose, it must be used for that purpose. It can't be used for something else. If it is diverted, it is considered to be an offence," he said.
Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (BN-Bera) brought a motion to refer Lim to the Rights and Privileges Committee for misleading the House on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) refund fiasco.
Ismail said that Lim needed to be referred to the committee for accusing the Barisan Nasional government of "robbing" the GST refunds.
The PAC, while insisting that no GST money was missing as claimed by Lim, recommended that the administration must fully comply with the law, especially with regards to the implementation of financial procedures.
PAC chairman Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad further said that government officers entrusted with the relevant responsibilities must always advise the administration in matters pertaining to the law, procedure and statistical information without fear or favour, especially relating to cash flow management and financial discipline in order to achieve greater accountability.