BN did not ‘rob’ Malaysia of RM19.4 billion in GST money: here’s what really happened

Treasury secretary-general Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir said in a testimony to the PAC last year that the GST refund money was “there”, and the only issue was the BN government’s procedure of disbursing it.
  • In August last year, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng accused the BN government of taking RM19.4 billion in GST refunds that the country owes Malaysians.

  • A Public Accounts Committee investigation has since found that the country’s GST money was kept in another account.

  • Some of it was transferred to a refund account when needed. 

  • The rest was spent on operational and development expenditure.

  • PAC head Noraini Ahmad said the money had since been accounted for, but these actions were still a breach of procedure.

The Barisan Nasional (BN) government did not steal Malaysia’s missing GST money, but kept it in a separate account and transferred it out when needed, a Government  investigation has found.

This comes after the previous administration was accused of taking RM19.4 billion (US$4.7 billion) in missing GST revenue.

Public Accounts Committee (PAC) chairman Noraini Ahmad said on Monday (July 15) that the BN Government had previously been keeping the annual GST revenue in the country’s Consolidated Revenue Account, instead of a dedicated GST Repayment Fund account, Bernama reported.

It would then transfer 35 per cent of the funds from the con­so­lidated account to the repayment account, to cover refund requests received by the GST refund committee.

It did so in order to manage Malaysia’s cash flow and ensure the country’s budget was not in deficit. It then used the remaining money on operational and development expenditure, Bernama quoted Noraini as saying.

The PAC head added that while the money had since been accounted for, these actions were still considered a breach of procedure.

She added that BN should have transferred at least 42 per cent of the funds into the GST Repayment Fund account, instead of 35 per cent.

PAC’s investigation was launched last year after Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng claimed the BN administration had “robbed” the country of the missing RM19.4 billion, The Star reported.

Lim said in Parliament that the government owed Malaysians RM19.4 billion in outstanding GST refund claims from 2015, but that the country’s GST repayment fund only contained RM1 billion in 2017.

Treasury secretary-general Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir said in a testimony to the PAC last year that the GST refund money was “there”, and the only issue was the BN Government’s procedure of disbursing it, The Star said in a separate report.

According to another Bernama report, Malaysia’s Attorney-General Tommy Thomas said BN’s methods were illegal and a breach of fundamental trust law principles.

On Tuesday (July 16), Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said that he still considered the funds “lost” unless they were formally recovered.

“We want to see where the money is,” Bernama quoted him as saying. “If we can recover the money, then it’s not lost. If we do not see it, then it means it’s lost.”

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