Tuesday, October 15

Opposition refers Guan Eng to rights committee after PAC concludes that BN did not ‘rob’ GST refunds

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Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob speaking to reporters in Parliament.  – Bernama file photo

KUCHING: The Opposition has in Parliament today sought to refer Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng to the Rights and Privileges Committee over his claim that the Barisan Nasional government had allegedly stolen RM19 billion in tax refunds.

Federal Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said in a Malay Mail report on the proceedings in Parliament in Kuala Lumpur that Lim had allegedly misled Parliament on the shortfall in Goods and Services Tax refunds.

He cited the findings of the probe by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) into the matter, which concluded that the previous government had not “robbed” the public of the money as Lim had alleged in July last year.

“With this, the Bagan MP has confused the Dewan Rakyat and the Opposition wants to use Standing Order 36(12) to refer the Bagan MP to the Rights and Privileges Committee,” Ismail said.

The PAC, in its report tabled today, concluded that the shortfall was due to an overestimation of net GST receipts by about 65 per cent under the BN administration.

Meanwhile, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has urged Parliament to censure Lim over his allegation.

He said on his Facebook page that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government’s response would demonstrate how faithful it was to the rule of law.

“If Guan Eng escapes punishment after this outrageous lie, then the people will doubt all responses that any Pakatan minister provides in Parliament,” he said.

“We will see if the PH government practises the rule of law or the ‘rule of Guan Eng’.”

Malay Mail reported that the PAC investigated the matter for 11 months starting last July.

PAC chairman Datuk Noraini Ahmad pre-empted the tabling of the report this morning with a statement saying her committee concluded that the shortfall was due to an overestimation of the net GST receipts by the BN government.

However, she said the BN administration failed to follow legal provisions by entering the funds into the Consolidated Account when these should have gone into the GST refund pool.

The PAC also found that the BN administration failed to allocate adequate money for the GST refunds.