The previous government's failure and delay to refund the GST input tax as stipulated under the GST Act 2014 is nothing short of robbery as it had been taking and withholding money from taxpayers by force.
This was regardless of what the money was eventually used for, said Kota Melaka MP Khoo Poay Tiong (photo, above).
In a statement, Khoo chided the opposition, notably Rembau MP Khairy Jamaluddin for his intention to file a motion to sanction Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng for allegedly misleading the Dewan Rakyat on the GST refund robbery.
"If only the opposition were equally enthusiastic to sanction (the former premier) Najib Razak on the delays when they were the government," Khoo said.
Previously, Malaysiakini had quoted sources as saying that the Public Accounts Committee (PAC)'s investigation revealed the previous government did not "rob" the money but used it for government expenditure.
The PAC report is expected to be tabled next week.
The revelation had prompted Khairy to respond that he would file the said motion against Lim.
"When the PAC report is tabled next week, Malaysians should recall that the previous administration had not only stolen the RM19.4 billion meant for GST refunds but had also breached the trust of taxpayers and damaged our economy.
"The GST Act 2014 requires the government to refund the GST input tax to the taxpayers within 14 days after the relevant papers are filed.
"However, it is a known fact that the previous administration did not honour this provision and instead chose to delay the payment of refund, some even up to two years," Khoo said.
He added that over 120,000 companies and individuals in the business sector were affected due to the delay in returning the GST input tax.
Khoo noted that under the new government, the Finance Ministry had refunded about RM9.5 billion to the GST registrants, honouring what the previous administration has failed to do.
Meanwhile, Jelutong MP RSN Rayer had urged Khairy to instead wait for the PAC to table its full report.
"It is rather premature and definitely reckless for Khairy to say that he will move a motion to refer Lim to the Rights and Privileges Committee..why the unnecessary haste?" he said.
Former finance minister Najib Abdul Razak has denied the "robbery" allegation and explained that the money meant for GST refunds were in the consolidated revenue account and remittance to the refund account would take place on a monthly basis.