We still can’t afford GST refund, says Guan Eng

Prem Kumar
Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had seized on the A-G's latest reports to reject Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s (pic) allegation that the funds were 'missing'. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 7 — Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the government has recouped RM148.6 million but was still cannot pay out Goods and Services Tax (GST) refunds because of a shortage of RM19.2 billion.

Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had seized on the auditor-general’s (A-G) latest reports to reject Lim’s allegation that the funds were “missing”.

Today, Lim said Najib could ask the over 121,000 firms waiting for their refunds if he did not believe there is a RM19 billion gap in the government’s coffers.

“Unfortunately, the repayments could not be done because the GST Trust Fund did not have the required RM19.4 billion,” he said in a statement.

“Under the law, all GST payments must be channelled to the Trust Fund for refunds to take place.

“This was not done by the previous (Barisan Nasional) government, which is unlawful.

“The Consolidated Account only had RM450 million on April 30. As such, the government has to rely on a special dividend contribution by Petronas to settle the repayments.”

In the A-G's report released on Monday, it was stated the Trust Fund was short of RM19.2 billion in revenue for GST refunds.

Lim clarified that this was not the case and referred to the Customs Department’s explanation from earlier this week.

The exchange is a continuation of the tiff between Lim and Najib over the former’s claim that Barisan Nasional “robbed” firms of RM19 billion in GST refunds.

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