SERDANG, Aug 12 — The Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government has used “a lot” of public money to repay loans taken by the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) administration, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.
However, he did not disclose the amount or if his administration had touched the RM18 billion from a trust account set up to refund the goods and services (GST) claims from businesses that has become a point of contention with the previous government led by Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
“A lot money had gone to servicing loans and retiring loans... and people expect free money from us.
“This is a habit developed by Najib that is to give money to the people freely,” Dr Mahathir told reporters when asked if the PH government had used money from the GST refund account to pay for some of its expenditure.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng on August 8 said that RM18 billion in input tax credit under the GST system since 2015 had gone “missing” from the trust account.
Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi had subsequently rejected Lim’s assertion, saying that the funds could have been used for other approved development projects instead.
Zahid added that if the funds were diverted and approved in the budget, the incumbent government could just table a supplementary supply Bill to bridge the funds, and not “accuse” the previous administration.
Najib, who was the previous finance minister, responded by accusing his successor of making baseless, politically-driven statement on the RM18 billion.
The police and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission are currently investigating the matter.