DAP MP: Najib shameless in claiming Singapore treats GST funds like he did

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Kota Melaka MP Khoo Poay Tiong says Singapore’s laws on its Goods and Services Tax (GST) differ from Malaysia and cannot be used to justify following its treatment of tax collections. — Picture by Hari Anggara
Kota Melaka MP Khoo Poay Tiong says Singapore’s laws on its Goods and Services Tax (GST) differ from Malaysia and cannot be used to justify following its treatment of tax collections. — Picture by Hari Anggara

KUALA LUMPUR, July 17 — Singapore’s laws on its Goods and Services Tax (GST) differ from Malaysia and cannot be used to justify following its treatment of tax collections, Kota Melaka MP Khoo Poay Tiong told Datuk Seri Najib Razak today.

Denouncing the former prime minister for citing Singapore to defend himself against claims he handled GST collections unlawfully, the DAP lawmaker said the island-state’s laws expressly provided for its consumption tax to be entered into its Consolidated Account.

Malaysia’s now-repealed GST Act mandated, however, that the consumption tax collections be recorded in a trust account in order to facilitate input tax refunds, Khoo noted.

He also highlighted that Singapore pays interest on input tax refunds that are not made within 30 days whereas Malaysia did not.

“Najib has shamelessly justified this as part of the government’s cash flow management.

“In reality, it is nothing short of robbery and a breach of trust because it is in effect taking and withholding money from taxpayers by force,” Khoo said in a statement.

He insisted that the Najib administration simply treated GST funds entered into the Consolidated Account as interest-free infusions at the expense of businesses, many of which are still owed refunds from the abolished consumption tax regime.

Khoo told Najib to stop smearing Singapore with his attempts to defend himself, saying the republic’s accountable and trustworthy government was nothing like the latter’s tainted administration.

On Monday, the Public Accounts Committee tabled its investigation report on Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng’s allegation that Barisan Nasional “robbed” the public of RM19.4 billion in GST refunds.

The report concluded that the Najib administration had booked GST revenue directly into the Consolidated Account in violation of the GST Act.

Attorney General Tommy Thomas later said such treatment of the consumption tax revenue was unlawful.