KUALA LUMPUR (July 11): Accusations against Barisan Nasional (BN) for spending Goods and Services Tax (GST) refund to cover the then government's income shortfall are inaccurate, Parliament Public Account Committee (PAC) chairman Datuk Dr Noraini Ahmad said.
In a statement today, Noraini [BN-Parit Sulong] said media reports on such allegations were not only inaccurate but also confusing as they do not give a true picture of what the PAC concluded after 11 months of discussions.
"At the same time, the media exposé on the PAC report shows disrespect towards the confidentiality of the committee's report, which remains classified until it is tabled to the Dewan Rakyat next Tuesday to be a public document," she said.
As such, Noraini urges the media to be patient and to wait for the report to be tabled before reporting on the matter.
"Besides that, the public can also read this report by downloading it from the PAC website at www.parlimen.gov.my/pac on the day it is tabled," she added.
Earlier today, The Malaysian Insight reported, quoting sources, that the PAC found that the previous BN government had used money due to taxpayers for GST refunds to pay for other expenses because of a shortfall in its income.
It wrote that the BN had overestimated its income and so dipped into the GST refunds account, and that the money was not stolen or robbed as claimed by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng when he revealed the missing funds in Parliament last August.
"The Customs Department was expected to contribute a certain amount to the Treasury but when it was insufficient, the previous government used the refunds for its own expenditure," the news portal quoted a source as saying. "Taxpayers were literally forced to lend the money to the government."
The PAC has been tasked to look into the matter after Lim's revelation that only RM1.486 billion remained in the account dedicated to GST refunds, which was insufficient to cover the RM19.4 billion the government owed taxpayers at the time.