KUALA LUMPUR: A senior backbench lawmaker wants Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz to correct an erroneous statement made by his predecessor in Parliament over the Goods and Service Tax (GST) refund.
"Will the ministry through the Finance Minister, make a Minister's Statement in Parliament to deny the accusations by Bagan (former Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng) that the previous government had 'robbed' the RM19.4bil GST refund," Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan (BN-Pontian) said in the Dewan Rakyat on Monday (Aug 3).
Ahmad noted that Treasury secretary-general Datuk Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir and the Parliament Public Accounts Committee have since found that the GST refund money was not missing as alleged by Lim.
Ahmad made the request to Deputy Finance Minister Mohd Shahar Abdullah during Oral Question Time.
However, Dewan Rakyat Deputy Speaker Datuk Seri Azalina Othmad Said reminded Ahmad to raise the matter up with Tengku Zafrul when he winds up his ministerial replies.
There has been controversy over the GST refunds when Lim brought the issue up in the Dewan Rakyat in August 2018, claiming that the RM19.4bil GST refunds were “robbed” by the previous Barisan Nasional administration.
Lim told the Dewan Rakyat that the former Barisan government had not been able to refund companies their credit tax from GST because 93% of the money had not been placed in the correct account.
Last July, the then Opposition lawmakers attempted to cite Lim to Parliament's Rights and Privileges Committee for misleading the House.
Meanwhile, Mohd Shahar said that efforts are being made to return the GST claims to eligible applicants.
He said this includes speeding up the application process.
He noted that GST refund claims were categorised into three categories, namely claims below RM50,000, RM50,000 to RM100,000 and above RM100,000.
"As of June 15, there are now only two categories for claims either below RM100,000 or above RM100,000," he added.
Mohd Shahar noted that claims for the GST refunds had risen by an additional RM9bil from the RM19.4bil that Lim had mentioned two years ago.
He was answering a question raised by Datuk Wira Amiruddin Hamzah (IND-Kubang Pasu) on whether the GST refund exercise has been completed.
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