Funds used for GE14, says Guan Eng

Hashini Kavishtri Kannan

Pakatan Harapan said former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s administration, in the four months before the May 9 general election, could have used taxpayers’ money in its hope to regain the ruling mandate.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng alleged that the “excessive spending” between January and April was the cause of the drastic drop in Putrajaya’s Consolidated Revenue Account.

He said the account, which had RM11.86 billion up to Dec 31, 2017, saw a drastic dip in funds, and there was only RM450 million left on April 30, 2018.

Lim attributed the gaping difference in the funds to what he claimed was Barisan Nasional’s attempt to win the polls, which it lost heavily for the first time.

“Clearly, this was the ‘general election spending’ to try to help BN win the 14th General Election,” he said.

Among Lim’s chief concerns was that the sum left in the account was paltry, considering that the government would need about 18 times more for emoluments and pension payments alone.

For just these two aspects, Lim said, the Treasury needed RM8 billion a month.


LIM GUAN ENG

“Najib claimed that he was no longer the finance minister when the unaudited monthly financial statements for April 30, 2018, were prepared.

“He (Najib) was shocked to learn that the BN government
had only left RM450 million in
the Consolidated Revenue Account for the new PH government. This is not true,” Lim said in a statement yesterday.

“Is Najib still at a loss to differentiate or understand what constitutes a Consolidated Revenue Account despite being finance minister for 10 years?” Lim said in putting forth this question for Najib to answer.

He also wanted Najib, who is facing 28 charges of money laundering and abuse of power with regard to the 1Malaysia Development Bhd scandal, to break it down to the public in explaining the “drastic depletion involving RM11.41 billion, or 96 per cent of the Consolidated Revenue Account over the four-month period”.

“Najib has refused to explain why only RM450 million was left to the PH government in the Consolidated Revenue Account on April 30.

“He must think that Malaysians are so gullible as to believe his claims that the value of the ringgit is determined by the price of oil, that he is unaware that his government has failed to return GST (Goods and Service Tax) and income tax refunds of RM35.5 billion back to the rakyat, that GST is better and less burdensome than SST (Sales and Services Tax) in terms of price rises, and that the Federal Government does not face a fiscal crisis with more than a trillion ringgit debt,” he said.

Lim also pointed out that Najib had, without verifying the authenticity of the April 2018 Financial Statement, accused the former of manipulating figures.

“As the former finance minister, he should know that the monthly financial statements of the Federal Government are independently prepared by the Accountant-General’s Department.

“Najib failed to realise that
the new finance minister was
not sworn in yet when the unaudited monthly financial statements for April 30, 2018, were prepared.

Lim’s response followed Najib’s Facebook posting on Sept 5, where the Pekan member of parliament had said it was “impossible” for the Consolidated Revenue Account to have only RM450 million left.

Najib said funds in the account were always kept at between RM18 billion and RM20 billion every month, and government officers, in their cash-flow management, would ensure that there was enough to serve as “buffer” for at least two months’ payment of salaries and pensions.

Lim, in his response, said Najib had failed the accounting test by confusing between the Consolidated Fund and the Consolidated Revenue Account.

“Legally, the government can only use the Consolidated Revenue Account for its operating expenditures,” Lim said, adding that Najib appeared to have difficulty in distinguishing the difference between the accounts in claiming that up to Dec 31 last year, the Federal Government had RM18.06 billion to spend, and not RM11.86 billion as he revealed.

All collections by Putrajaya
are channelled into a common
pool that is known as “the
Consolidated Account”, which has in it three different accounts maintained by the accountant-general — the Consolidated Revenue Account, Consolidated Loan Account and Consolidated Trust Account.

Lim had recently said despite Najib’s assertion that there was RM42.2 billion in the Consolidated Account on Dec 31 last year, only RM11.86 billion was in the Consolidated Revenue Account.

Even then, the RM11.86 billion was never transferred to the Tax Refund Trust Account, Lim said.

After PH took over the Federal Government, Lim said, the amount in the unaudited Consolidated Account was just RM35.5 billion, while only RM450 million was in the Consolidated Revenue Account.

Lim said the PH administration had increased the unaudited Consolidated Account amount to RM59.9 billion as at July 31 this year, with RM3.81 billion in the unaudited Consolidated Revenue Account, despite the tax holiday that was in place.

Touching on the ongoing multi-pronged probes into the 1MDB scandal, Lim said the electorate voting PH into Putrajaya was proof that they did not buy into lies and claims that it was a “sustainable and good” company for Malaysia after it left the country saddled with debts of about RM50 billion.

“The 14th General Election has proven that Malaysians will not be deceived any more.”

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