PAC concludes probe on missing RM19b GST refunds

By DASHVEENJIT KAUR / Pic BERNAMA

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has completed its probe on the alleged missing RM19.4 billion Goods and Services Tax (GST) refunds, said its chairman Datuk Seri Dr Ronald Kiandee (picture).

According to Kiandee, the investigation was concluded after the committee had met with Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng as the final witness.

“We will be having another meeting to make a final report before tabling it in Parliament,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby yesterday.

“The committee has to discuss in detail according to the evidence and documents handed to us last month.

“The report will be tabled soon after that, hopefully by the end of this parliamentary session, or early next year,” he said.

Meanwhile, Lim when met with reporters after meeting with the PAC yesterday claimed that it was under a false impression that the RM19.4 billion is still in the government coffers.

“I’m actually quite surprised because we told them that the amount is missing and I think it is clear that it is not there,” Lim said.

He said it would have not been an issue for the government if the fund is still available.

“We wouldn’t have to take the special RM30 billion dividend from Petroliam Nasional Bhd. But after giving my statement, the PAC understood,” he added.

Lim emphasised that the government is committed to pay the outstanding GST refunds by next year.

In August, Lim told the Dewan Rakyat that a staggering RM19.4 billion in GST input tax had gone missing from the balance sheet.

Of the total input tax credit, RM9.2 billion, or 47% was recorded between Jan 1 and May 31 this year, RM6.8 billion or 35% in 2017, RM2.8 billion (15%) in 2016 and RM600 million (3%) in 2015 (from April 1 to Dec 31, 2015).

The money was meant for refunds for the consumption tax from April 2015 to May 31, 2018.

Under the GST, businesses were allowed to claim credit for taxes paid on purchases two weeks after submission of proper documents.

Since the implementation of GST on April 1, 2015, a total of RM190 billion was collected from the tax system.

Of that, RM83 billion of input tax over the three years was supposed to go into a trust account, but only RM63.6 billion made it into that fund and was eventually refunded to businesses.

Lim said as of May 31, there was only a balance of RM1.49 billion in the repayment fund.

Since the PAC began its probe on the issue, the committee had called former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak, former Treasury Secretary General Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah and Customs Department DG Datuk Seri Tholasy Subromaniam to testify.