Police record Guan Eng's statement over 'stolen' RM19.25b GST refund

NST Online

KUALA LUMPUR: Police have recorded Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s statement over his claim that RM19.25 billion from the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Trust Fund account had been “robbed”. In a statement today, Lim said police had recorded his statement over the missing money which had affected 121,429 companies and individuals who have not get their refunds since 2015 until this year. “The police have recorded my statement under Section 409 Of The Penal Code. “Under the GST Act 2014, the refunds of input tax should be made within two weeks but a huge number of companies and individuals have not received the refunds as far back as 2015,” he said. Under the offence, those who commit criminal breach of trust can be jailed a minimum of two years and maximum of 20-years, with whipping and fine. Lim said a huge number of the 121,429 companies and individuals affected by the “scandal” were now wondering why RM19.4 billion in the GST Refunds Trust Account was not returned to them within two weeks as required by law. He gave a breakdown of the claims as follows:

Year claims were made Unpaid GST claim Share
2015 RM610M 3%
2016 RM2,821M 15%
2017 RM6,782M 35%
2018 (up to 31 May) RM9,184M 47%
Total unpaid GST claims RM19,397M 100%

Lim said the government faced a shortfall of RM19.25 billion because there is only RM148.6 million in the GST Refunds Trust account, when there should be RM19.4 billion. “Where is the RM19.25 billion that went missing since 2015? “The federal government is working hard to return RM19.4 billion beginning next year because the money does not belong to the government but to the people,” he said. Lim said Datuk Seri Najib Razak must answer three pertinent questions about his involvement as the former Finance Minister over the missing RM19.25 billion that had prevented RM19.4 billion from being returned to the companies and individuals. He said the questions included whether Najib had authorised that GST refunds not be made within two weeks as required by the law. Lim also wanted Najib to explain whether he had approved former Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar’s decision not to transfer the full amount of RM82.9 billion refunds as requested by the Customs Department, but only RM63.5 billion since 2015 - resulting in the shortfall of the RM19.25 billion in the GST Refunds Trust account. His third question to Najib was whether the former prime minister had approved that the GST refunds not paid back since 2015, were to be recognised as government revenue instead and used as the government pleased. “The answers to these important questions will enlighten the legal role played by Najib as the Finance Minister because only a Finance Minister has the authority to approve or to deny the transfer of RM19.4 billion to the GST Refund Trust account,” he said. The controversy surrounding the shortfall in the GST refunds account started after Lim claimed the money had been robbed by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) administration. Following his statement in Parliament, former Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin and also Mohd Irwan lodged reports with the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) to investigate the matter. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd