KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 12 – Prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today challenged his predecessor to prove the latter’s claim that RM18 billion in goods and services tax (GST) refunds were not missing.
“Lim Guan Eng said it is missing, Najib says it is not,” Mahathir said, referring to the finance minister and former prime minister respectively.
“If the money is not missing show us where it went to,” he said after attending an art exhibition here.
On Wednesday, Lim revealed that there was a shortfall of RM18 billion in a trust fund where GST refunds were supposed to be deposited by the government.
He told the Dewan Rakyat that the previous government had robbed the people of their money.
Najib, however, accused the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government of having spent the money in the consolidated fund meant for GST refunds to businesses.
He claimed that the government was forced to do so after the loss in revenue after it zero-rated the GST for three months before implementing the proposed sales and services tax (SST).
The former finance minister said this resulted in PH experiencing difficulty paying the large amounts of GST claims and the government looking for a scapegoat.
Mahathir admitted that his administration was short of funds but said this was because it had to settle debts incurred by the previous government.
“A lot of money has been spent on that, while the rakyat still expects handouts, a culture perpetuated by Najib’s administration.”