KUALA LUMPUR: MCA president Wee Ka Siong today said he had questioned Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s claim that RM19.4 billion had been “missing” from the GST Refund Account in Parliament but received no response.
Following the confirmation by the Public Accounts Committee that no GST refund money had gone missing, Wee said he had asked the finance ministry why there had been no police investigations.
He said he also asked whether anybody was being held or who were being called up.
“At that time there were no answers. I suspected that this (Lim’s claim) was something that was untrue,” he told reporters at the parliament lobby.
Wee said the opposition had no issue accepting the PAC’s conclusions that there had been a violation of the Goods and Services Tax Act 2014 in the channelling of GST refunds.
“We are not perfect, that is not a problem. We can accept the PAC’s criticism but to say it (GST refunds) was ‘robbed’ means that you have to call someone a robber,” he said.
He said since it had been confirmed the money was in the Consolidated Revenue Account, the current government was responsible for paying back the GST refunds.
Wee added that Attorney-General Tommy Thomas, in his response to the PAC, did not touch on the “real issue at hand, which is the allegation that the money was “robbed”.
Meanwhile, two Pakatan Harapan MPs were adamant that there were “elements” of wrongdoing in the GST tax collections.
Puncak Borneo MP Willie Mongin noted that PAC had concluded the money collected must be transferred into the GST Refunds Account instead of the Consolidated Revenue Account.
“The money in the Consolidated Revenue Account was then used without it being tabled in Parliament. If the money is to be used (for other purposes), there needs to be an agreement in Parliament.
“However, they took the money and used it,” Mongin said at the parliament lobby.
Beruas MP Ngeh Khoo Ham took the former government under Najib Razak to task over the delay in paying out the GST refunds.
“When they used money meant for GST refunds, it is unfair to the business owners,” he said, adding that the money needed to be refunded within 14 days to a month.
Ngeh said this had resulted in the business owners facing cash flow problems.