LIM Guan Eng has refused to apologise over the word “stolen” in the RM19.4bil Goods and Services Tax (GST) credit refund controversy, saying that the issue was not brought up in the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report.
The Finance Minister said that since the matter was not brought up in the PAC report, it was not relevant.
“I think the Speaker has already said, you must see what was the context. I feel the context was used last year,” he said at the Parliament lobby.
Earlier, Opposition MPs demanded Lim to retract the word “stolen” and asked Speaker Datuk Mohamad Ariff Md Yusof to expunge it from the Hansard.
Ariff ruled that there were no grounds to refer Lim to the committee as requested by a motion filed by Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
Lim said the demand was a political ploy by the Opposition to keep targeting him.
“If we look closely at the report, the fund was used for other purposes.
“The GST fund was not returned to taxpayers but was used for other purposes. That is wrong,” he said.
“If you look at any laws, not only would the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission take action, the police and the government would take action as well.”
At the lobby, Ismail Sabri questioned why the Speaker did not allow the motion to cite Lim to the Parliament’s Rights and Privileges Committee.
“It is as if the Speaker is defending Bagan’s (Lim’s constituency) statement that the GST fund was stolen by the previous government when the PAC report clearly stated that the money is not missing,” he said.
Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin said Lim had repeatedly contradicted himself on the issue and was still defended by the Speaker.
“How did he qualify to become a judge?” he asked, referring to Ariff.
The PAC report on the matter said that no money went missing from the GST refunds. Instead, the funds were used for operational and development expenditures.
The PAC 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 deficit management.