Guan Eng asks Najib 3 questions over delay in GST refunds

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng says many companies and individuals have been asking reasons for the delay in paying them the GST refunds.

PETALING JAYA: Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has asked former prime minister Najib Razak to reply to three questions regarding GST refunds.

He said 121,429 companies and individuals had not received RM19.4 billion in GST refunds since 2015, and many of them were asking why the payments had been delayed.

His statement comes in the wake of Najib, earlier today, saying he wanted the Public Accounts Committee to investigate the current government’s claim that unpaid GST refunds totalling more than RM19 billion had been misappropriated by his administration.

Lim, however, said in a statement he wanted Najib to first answer his three questions.

The first is whether Najib authorised the GST refunds to be delayed although refunds had to be made in two weeks as required by the law.

“Two, did Najib approve the decision by Irwan (Serigar, the former treasury secretary-general) not to transfer the full RM82.9 billion as requested by Customs, but only RM63.5 billion, with these refunds stretching back to 2015?” he asked.

Lim maintains that there is a shortfall of RM19.25 billion in the GST Refunds Trust Account.

The third question was whether the then government recognised GST refunds as “revenue to be used as the government pleases”.

Lim said even though Irwan was responsible for the 121,429 companies and individuals not getting back their GST refunds, his decision needed to be approved by the finance minister, and Najib was holding that post at that time.

Last week, Lim said the government faced a shortfall of RM19.25 billion because there was only RM148.6 million in the GST Refunds Trust Account when it should be RM19.4 billion.

This was confirmed by Customs director-general T Subromaniam who said the department had requested, at the monthly trust account committee meetings, for the transfer of RM82.9 billion into the account but that only RM63.5 billion was banked in.

Lim said the Trust account committee monthly meetings had been chaired by Irwan since 2015.

He added that the new government was committed to returning these refunds, that were “improperly” or even “illegally” withheld by the previous government, beginning next year.