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Najib claims GST refunds became a problem after zero-rating

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Syndicated News
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KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 12 2018 : Former premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak has questioned the Ministry of Finance (MoF) as to why it had taken three months to discover that there was RM18 billion Goods and Services Tax refunds that had gone “missing”.

In a Facebook posting yesterday, Najib also questioned Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s claim that the government was unable to refund businesses as it had been “robbed”.

“From what I see, the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government did not expect the sudden increase in GST claims soon after it has been zero-rated.

“The three-month GST tax exemption during which the government no longer received revenue from the tax also meant that the money from the Consolidated Trust Fund which should have been distributed may have been used to finance the government’s monthly expenses,” he said. 

He said the Royal Malaysian Customs Department (Customs) confirmed that the GST collection had not been stolen, “robbed” or channelled to unauthorised accounts, but was deposited in the government’s Consolidated Trust Fund, from which it would be transferred to the GST refunds account periodically.

“The time frame that was mentioned was up to May 31, 2018. Barisan Nasional (BN) had lost its power on May 9, 2018. 

“This means that requests to transfer the funds to the GST claims trust account for April and May 2018 was under PH’s administration,” he said.

Najib added that the refunds were based on the GST-3 forms completed by business owners to make their claims, which would then depend on the amount which have been audited or approved by the Customs Department.

“(The amount of claims) is gross amount and not the amount which had been approved. How much was the amount which had been audited, rejected or approved by Customs before requesting for the fund to be transferred to the GST claims trust fund?” he asked.

He also questioned how much of the RM19.4 billion was new claims following the zero-rating of the GST.

“Even if we take into account the high claims for GST refunds in April and May when it was no longer under the BN government’s administration, there was still more than 76 per cent of the GST claims made by the BN government, which proves that there was no ‘robbery’ as alleged,” he said. 

The former premier said the lower Sales and Services Tax collection compared with the GST would aggravate the situation, whereby the government would not have the funds to pay the overdue refunds.

“This will affect investors who are concerned that Lim’s promise that the PH government will achieve a budget deficit of 2.8 per cent will not be fulfilled.

“This will also weaken investor’s confidence and will cause a fall in the country’s credit rating,” he said, adding he hoped the investigations by the authorities would reveal the truth.  – Bernama

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