Opposition pushes for action against Guan Eng over GST refunds

Opposition leader Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

KUALA LUMPUR: Opposition leader Ismail Sabri Yaakob today asked for Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng to be referred to Parliament’s Rights and Privileges Committee for misleading the house over the issue of the goods and services tax (GST) refunds.

“Yang Berhormat Bagan (Lim) claimed that RM19.4 billion was stolen by the previous administration but the Public Accounts Committee’s (PAC) statement today has made clear that there was no robbery or missing funds as accused by Bagan,” the Bera MP said.

However, Deputy Speaker Nga Kor Ming told him to write to the Dewan Rakyat speaker for his consideration on the matter.

He said the PAC report had only been tabled today.

“Even I have not read the report. To make a decision now would be unfair to both parties,” he added.

Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau) and Wee Ka Siong (BN-Ayer Hitam) then called for a guarantee that the matter would be debated during the current parliamentary session.

“The minister’s inaccurate statement has given the previous administration a bad image. I hope the speaker will raise this at the current sitting and not the next one,” Khairy said.

“We need a guarantee that this will be debated during the current session as it would be dated if it is discussed in October.”

Wee meanwhile said the matter needs urgent debate as Lim’s claim was that of robbery.

RSN Rayer (PH-Jelutong) and Cha Chee Kin (PH-Rasah) then stood to argue with Wee, saying he was trying to mislead the house by not speaking about the full contents of the PAC report.

PAC confirmed earlier today that no GST refund money had gone missing although there had been a violation of the Goods and Services Tax Act 2014 when the funds were transferred into a Consolidated Revenue Account instead of the GST Refund Account.

This followed reports quoting sources as saying that the bi-partisan committee had disputed a claim by Lim that the previous administration misused money meant for tax refunds.

Speaking to reporters later at the Parliament lobby, Ismail said the accusation of robbery was “very serious and cannot be forgiven”.

He also said Lim’s statement on Aug 8 last year had “caused confusion in the Dewan Rakyat”.