KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 9 — Authorities must urgently investigate the finance minister’s claim in Parliament that the Barisan Nasional government “robbed” firms of RM19 billion in tax refunds, Khairy Jamaluddin said today.
The former Umno Youth chief said the gravity of the accusation could not wait for the internal inquiry that Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said would be conducted, adding that he will file reports with the police and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to force their investigations.
“I do not think an internal inquiry by [the Finance Ministry] is sufficient when a serious allegation of misappropriation or ‘rompakan’ has been made.
“Since [Lim] is not keen on anything beyond an internal inquiry for now, I would like to nudge this along in the public’s interest,” Khairy wrote on Twitter.
He insisted that the minister did not explain the allegation satisfactorily after making it in Parliament yesterday, adding that his former Cabinet colleague, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, concurred that an investigation was crucial to identify the culprits and the severity of the alleged crime.
When he makes his report, Khairy said he will name the most senior ministry officials who were serving at the time of the alleged theft in order to permit police and anti-corruption investigators to launch their investigations and clarify the matter.
“Otherwise we are left with sensational headlines about RM19 billion missing or stolen without any real evidence being presented.
“If true, bring those responsible to justice. As a former minister, such a misappropriation, if true, must be investigated thoroughly & openly,” he concluded.
During the second reading of the Bill to repeal the Goods and Services Tax yesterday, Lim alleged that the BN government directly utilised RM19 billion from its collections that had been meant for input tax refunds.
The minister said the sum should have been held in a trust account pending the approval of refund applications, but was promptly booked as revenue for immediate spending.