Reports by MARTIN CARVALHO, HEMANANTHANI SIVANANDAM, RAHIMY RAHIM and TARRENCE TAN
THE Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report that no money was missing from the Goods and Services Tax (GST) refund vindicates the previous Barisan Nasional government, says former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
“I feel vindicated by the PAC report that there was no ‘robbing’ or ‘swindling’ of GST refunds. What was done by the previous government was based on advice by government officers.
“This includes the Accountant-General’s Department and Finance Ministry officers,” he told reporters in Parliament yesterday.
According to Najib, the funds were kept in the consolidated account and 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 had lied in the Parliament. It is a serious accusation,” he said.
The PAC report released on Monday, confirmed no money went missing from the GST refunds.
Instead, the funds were used for operational and development expenditures.
The PAC report also found that the previous administration had delayed the transfer of funds from the Consolidated Fund account into the GST refund account to manage the country’s cash flow position to ensure the nation was not in a deficit management.
The controversy started last August after Lim said that the RM19.4bil GST refund was “robbed” by the former Barisan administration. In a statement yesterday, Lim said the Finance Ministry would ensure that there was no repeat of what had 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 – would not recur.
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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