KUALA LUMPUR: Only the Minister of Finance has the authority to extend the two weeks granted to the Royal Customs Administration for the reimbursement of goods and services tax (GST) paid by companies.
The Minister of Finance Lim Guan Eng said this today in a statement.
This also means that only the Minister of Finance can approve the decision not to transfer the RM19.25 billion to the GST Refunds trust account.
He replied to the answer from former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak denying his three questions that previously related to the RM19.25 billion reportedly missing in the GST Refunds Trust Account.
"If the police believes that Datuk Seri Najib Razak has not authorized it, Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah will be responsible for the wrongdoing, not only a violation of trust, but also abuse of a minister's power.
"This is because only the Minister of Finance can allow the RM19.25 billion not to be transferred to the GST Refunds trust account within two weeks or the GST reimbursements are not reimbursed, as required by law", statement from Lim.
According to Lim's statement, Najib had said he was unaware, nor was he involved in the failure of the previous government to repay the RM19.4 billion GST reimbursements to 121,429 individuals and companies three years ago .
Lim noted that the Director General of Customs, Datuk Seri T Subromaniam, had confirmed that his department had requested repayment of the money through the monthly meetings of the Trust Fund Committee chaired by the then Minister of Finance, Mohd Irwan, since 2015.
"Unfortunately, the refunds have not been made because there are only RM148.6 million left on the GST Refunds Trust Account when it should have RM19.4 billion, which means that there is a deficit of RM19.25 billion in the account", said Lim.
Nevertheless, Najib said no to his three questions on this matter; firstly, whether Najib has approved the decision not to pay the refunds within the two weeks required by law.
Second, whether Najib approved Mohd Irwan's decision not to transfer RM82.9 billion as requested by Customs, but instead transferred only RM63.5 billion since 2015, resulting in a deficit of RM19.25 billion in the GST Refunds Trust Account.
Thirdly, whether Najib has approved the GST reimbursements that have not been paid since 2015 to be considered as government revenue that can be used at its discretion.
"Will Najib say the same to the police if his statement is made?" Early Lim, adding that the police are now investigating the RM19.25 billion missing persons from the GST Refunds Trust Account under Section 409 of the Criminal Code.
Lim said the previous government had also failed to refund income tax and real estate taxes paid by taxpayers, which amounted to RM16 billion on May 31, 2018, representing 1,653,786 cases in the past six years.
This was confirmed by the Director General Datuck Seri Sabin Samitah of the Inland Revenue Board in a statement on 24 August, in which he said that the previous government was aware of the deficit in the Tax Refunds Trust Fund which resulted in the delay in the repayment of overpaid taxes for up to six years.
Applications, including written submissions, had also been submitted during the monthly meeting of the cash management committee chaired by Mohd Irwan to request additional allocation in the trust fund for the tax refund, Sabin said in the statement.
Lim decided to make his statement today by asking whether Najib would also argue for ignorance in this matter.