Guan Eng questions if Najib approved only partial GST refund to Customs department

Jerry Choong
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng speaks during a press conference in Komtar today, February 28, 2018. ― Picture by Sayuti Zainudin

KUALA LUMPUR, August 15 — Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng today demanded an answer from former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on whether he had approved former Treasury Secretary-General Tan Sri Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah’s decision to transfer only a portion of the GST refunds as requested by the Customs Department.

Guan Eng said department’s director-general Datuk Seri T. Subromaniam confirmed that they had requested for the transfer of RM82.9 billion to the GST Refunds Trust Account during the fund’s monthly committee meetings, but only received RM63.5 billion.

“The government’s RM19.25 billion shortfall is due to this, as confirmed by the director-general,” Lim said in a statement.

Although he holds Mohd Irwan responsible for some 121,429 companies and individuals failing to get back their refunds, Lim said the decision needed the approval of the Finance Ministry, which was under Najib’s portfolio at the time.

“The decisions were made by Mohd Irwan, but Najib had a critical role to play as Finance Minister,” he said.

Lim also asked if Najib authorised that GST refunds not be made in two weeks despite being legally required to do so, and if he approved that the refunds would be recognised as government revenue to be used at its discretion.

“It is imperative that he accounts for his role to these companies and individuals who did not obtain their refunds, by answering and not dodging these questions,” he said.