Finance minister: Govt owes businesses RM19.4b in GST refunds

10-Aug-2018 Intellasia | Malay Mail | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Finance minister Lim Guan Eng today revealed that the government owes businesses nationwide RM19.4 billion on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) refunds with some being owed for more than two years.

In his second reading to repeal the GST at the Dewan Rakyat today, Lim reiterated his accusation yesterday that the previous Barisan Nasional led government did not follow guidelines and also swindled money from the a trust account that was supposed to be used to refund companies.

“The Royal Customs Department has confirmed that the total amount of input tax credit that was supposed to be refunded (to companies) within two weeks stands at RM19.4 billion up to May 31, 2018.

“From this figure RM9.2 billion (47 per cent) was from 2018, RM6.8 billion (35 per cent) from 2017, RM2.8 billion (15 per cent) from 2016, and RM0.6 billion (3 per cent) from 2015.

“This two-year-old backlog happened not only because the guidelines were not followed, but the previous government thought it was an opportunity to swindle this money,” Lim alleged.

He said to make things worse, only RM1.486 million was left in the trust account.

Lim continued lambasting the former government, accusing them of lacking fiscal discipline and for wastage and leakages, falsifying accounts, swindling tax refunds for other purposes or covering up deficits while adding up on the national debt.

The Bagan MP also accused the previous government of utilising the GST collections to cover up and protect 1MDB.

“Without 1MDB, there will be no GST. The public knows that the GST was introduced not to protect the people’s interest but to protect the interest of BN cronies such as Jho Low who is now wanted by police, even though his luxury yacht Equanimity is now in Port Klang,” he said.

Lim said the previous government’s failure to refund companies had created a cascading negative economic effect on Malaysia and businesses operating here as it affected their cash flow.

He said to ensure their survivability, these companies then hoisted their GST costs on consumers, forcing the public to pay more while weakening Malaysian companies’ competitiveness because of the BN administration’s failure.

Lim said the finance ministry will be repaying the GST debt in the near future, saying that it is a moral imperative as the sum owed does not belong to the government.

The delay of the refunds has interrupted the business environment here and impacted on the nation’s competitiveness. If the RM19.4 billion was refunded to these companies, it will help in trigger economic growth in Malaysia, Lim said.

“The finance ministry will take many steps to study on how we can obtain enough funds to make full repayment to these taxpayers next year,” said Lim.

Later, while debating the issue, Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin (Umno) said the government needs to give more details regarding the unpaid input tax credit, such as a proper breakdown and whether or not the companies who failed to receive the refunds had submitted their documents correctly.

The former Youth and Sports minister said if wrongdoings are discovered, he would support the government in obtaining justice over the issue but also pointed out that the accusations levelled against Barisan Nasional was “very serious”.

He said an inquiry by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) and investigations by authorities would be welcomed and would gain his support.


Category: Malaysia

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