RM7.9 billion in tax refunds paid out, says Guan Eng

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.

KUALA LUMPUR: A total of RM7.9 billion in tax refunds has already been issued to taxpayers, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.

The amount, which covers goods and services tax (GST) and income tax, was paid out from the one-off special dividend by Petronas, which is being given by the oil and gas company in instalments.

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said as of Feb 28, a total of RM8 billion had been received from Petronas.

“For income tax refunds, a total of RM3.9 billion has been paid back by the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) as of Feb 28, involving 75,776 cases (38,104 companies and 37,672 individuals).

“As for GST refunds, RM4 billion was paid back to 54,603 GST registrants by the Customs Department as of March 3,” he said in the Dewan Rakyat today in reply to a question by Tajuddin Abdul Rahman (BN-Pasir Salak).

As of March 4, the Bagan MP said, the total amount of claims for GST refunds still unsettled stood at RM22.145 billion, involving 168,839 registrants.

Tajuddin later asked Lim to state whether the RM19.4 billion, which the former government was said to have failed to reimburse in GST refunds to 121,429 companies and individuals, had truly been stolen or used for other purposes.

Lim appeared to sidestep the question and instead proceeded to say that Petronas and its subsidiaries are owed a total of RM4.2 billion in GST refunds, which make up over 20% of the entire RM19.4 billion in tax arrears.

He said the national oil and gas company was just one example of the many companies which had yet to receive their tax refunds.

Tajuddin appeared dissatisfied with Lim’s reply, but the finance minister fended off the former’s questions on the money allegedly stolen, saying he was trying his best to answer the question.

“I am trying to answer your question here. No, I only wish to discuss this here, in the house.

“If there are disputes in terms of the valid amount, Petronas and its subsidiaries are owed RM4.2 billion.

“It is the truth. Don’t tell me they made false claims?”