Guan Eng accuses BN of ‘robbing’ GST refunds, says account empty

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng says the amount involved is not small.

KUALA LUMPUR: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has accused the Barisan Nasional (BN) government of robbing the GST refunds, stating there is no money left in an account where the refunds meant for manufacturers are supposed to be deposited.

“That is why people have not receive their refunds. People were supposed to get their refunds in two weeks but it’s been two years and some people are still waiting,” he said debating on the sales tax at the Dewan Rakyat.

Lim said the amount involved was not small.

This prompted Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau) to ask for proof.

“You make such accusations, you must prove it too,” he told Lim.

To which Lim replied he would show the evidence tomorrow.

“This is an early warning that you have failed to do your work as a minister,” he said.

Lim was replying to Reezal Merican (BN-Kepala Batas) who had asked for the amount of unpaid GST claims.

Lim added the rot had set in and due to that, the system needed to be changed.

However, Khairy was unhappy with the reply and said Lim had yet to give a proper answer on the need to change the taxation system from GST to SST.

Lim hoped BN would accept the decision by the rakyat who had given the mandate to PH.

He also revealed that the SST would exempt 5,443 items while GST had only 540 items on its exemption list. “More than 10 times the exemption given under GST. How can we say GST does not burden the rakyat.”

However, when it was time for voting for the bill, Ronald Kiandee (BN-Beluran) asked the floor to move the bill forward to a select committee under the Standing Order 54 (2), but his request was rejected by the MPs. Kiandee then asked for a bloc vote.

This prompted several MPs from both sides of the divide who were not in the hall to rush in to take part in the voting process. After about 10 minutes of voting, 111 MPs disagreed to discuss the bill at a select committee, 51 agreed while four MPs abstained from voting.

The bill was then passed at the second reading, and third reading without any debates. It will now be handed to Dewan Negara for debate and approval.

Hatta Ramli (PH-Lumut) sighed with relief when they won the vote, as this was the first time PH won a vote in the Dewan Rakyat.

Hatta said: “Finally we won one.”