KUALA LUMPUR: The fact that no money went missing from the Goods and Services Tax (GST) refunds has vindicated the former Barisan Nasional administration from allegations of wrongdoing, says Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
“I feel vindicated by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report that there was no ‘robbing’ or ‘swindling’ of GST refunds. What was done by the previous government was based on the advice given by government officers.
“This includes the Accountant General’s Department and Finance Ministry officers,” the former prime minister said to reporters at the Parliament lobby on Tuesday (July 16).
According to Najib, the funds were kept in a consolidated account and was transferred in stages for GST refunds.
“From there, we use the money for administrative matters and development. This was also done in countries such as Singapore.
“It is impossible that there was swindling or robbing. So, (Finance Minister) Lim Guan Eng's allegations are serious."
The PAC report said on Monday (July 15) that no money went missing from the GST refunds, and the funds were used instead for operational and development expenditures.
PAC chairman Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad said the previous government had kept all the GST collection in the Consolidated Fund account and had transferred it in stages as and when it was needed and decided by the GST refund committee.
However, this was not in line with Section 54 (2) and Section 54 (5) of the GST Act 2014, said Noraini.
There had been a controversy over the GST refunds when Lim Eng said in August last year that the RM19.4bil GST refunds were “robbed” by the previous Barisan administration.
On Tuesday, Lim said the Finance Ministry would ensure that there would be no repeat of what happened with the GST refunds during the Barisan administration.
Lim said the Pakatan government would respect the two principal recommendations in the PAC report to ensure that the legal contraventions and financial non-compliance - where monies meant for
GST refunds were used for other government expenditures - will never happen again.
Following PAC’s report, the Opposition, led by Umno vice-president Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, had brought a motion to refer Lim to the Rights and Privileges Committee for misleading the House by accusing the Barisan government of “robbing” the GST refunds.
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