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Monday, July 15, 2019

Opposition wants action against LGE for misleading House over GST refunds

KUALA LUMPUR - The Opposition has brought a motion to refer Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng to the Rights and Privileges Committee for misleading the House on the Goods and Services Tax (GST) refund issue.

The motion was brought by Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob (BN-Bera), who said that Lim needed to be referred to the Committee for accusing the Barisan Nasional government of "robbing" the GST refunds.

"The report  by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) tabled today showed that no money was robbed as alleged by YB Bagan (Lim).

"This means Bagan has confused the Dewan and the Opposition would like to use Standing Order 36 (12) to refer him to the Rights and Privileges Committee," said Ismail on Monday (July 15).

To this, deputy Dewan Rakyat Speaker Nga Kor Ming told Ismail Sabri to formally write in to the Speaker's office for a decision on the matter.

Khairy Jamaluddin (BN-Rembau) then interjected and said that referring an MP to the Rights and Privileges Committee can be done in two ways - one with a formal request written to the Speaker and secondly, when it is decided by the Speaker immediately.

Khairy reasoned that this matter is current and needed to be debated in this Parliament meeting, which ends on Thursday (July 18).

"Although the matter (allegations by Lim) were raised last August, the PAC report today has confirmed that the remarks by Bagan (Lim) were not true and this has given a grave name to the Barisan Nasional government.

"So I hope that although we have been asked to write in to the Speaker, this matter will be debated in this meeting. We will send in the letter but it needs to be debated otherwise this issue will be dated," said Khairy.

Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong (BN-Ayer Hitam) supported Khairy's statement and asked if the Speaker could guarantee that the matter will be debated in this Parliament meeting.

"Will there be a guarantee that this matter will be debated before Thursday? I believe this is more fair as the accusations against Barisan are that the money was robbed," he said.

Awang Hashim (PAS-Pendang) too supported the suggestion to debate the matter in this meeting.

Nga said that all the points raised by the lawmakers were noted, however an immediate decision cannot be made at the moment.

"However, I guarantee that whatever decision taken will be based on the laws and the Standing Orders," said Nga.

The PAC said in its report no money was missing from the GST refunds, but the refunds were used for government expenditure and development instead.

Last August, Lim had told the Parliament that RM19.4bil was "robbed".

Lim had told the Dewan Rakyat that the former Barisan government had not been able to refund companies the credit tax from GST because 93% of the money had not been placed in the correct account.

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