KOTA KINABALU: Democratic Action Party (DAP) Member of Parliament for Kota Kinabalu Chan Foong Hin has slammed the opposition’s action in moving a motion in parliament to refer censure the Finance Minister, Lim Guan Eng, as an attempt to whitewash the seriousness of diverting funds meant as refund of the GST.
“By diverting the RM19.4 billion meant for refund elsewhere, Najib has indeed ‘rompak’ companies and entrepreneurs off their time sensitive business opportunities. These law abiding citizen have faithfully paid their taxes but had been most unfortunately deprived off their precious funding when they need the money the most! It’s RM19.4 billion being used elsewhere and there’s nothing the rightful owners of these money could do!” Chan said in a statement issued in Kuala Lumpur on Monday.
Opposition leader Ismail Sabri had this morning filed an oral motion to refer Lim to the Rights and Privileges Committee Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng for allegedly misleading Parliament by claiming that the previous BN government had “rompak” or robbed the RM19.4 billion in the government’s coffers meant for GST refunds when the funds have not disappeared but instead had been utilised for government expenditure.
“The opposition is claiming that the money diverted could be traced and were used for other government expenditure, therefore the diversions are legitimate, and Najib is not a crook as claimed by Lim.
However, the real issue is: Can Najib do such diversion of funds in the first place when the GST Act is clear and ringfences the RM19.4 billion collected from a specific group of GST tax payers for refund purposes to them? The answer is a clear NO because the government is merely holding the RM19.4 billion on trust for these tax payers!”
Chan, who is also the secretary of DAP Sabah, said that Opposition MPs have to understand the concept of ‘trust’, the duty of a trustee, and that a breach of trust is committed when funds meant for a specific purpose are diverted by the trustee for other purposes.
Chan further noted that Najib had during his time as Finance Minister never revealed to the public the extend of the shortfall of funds in the GST trust account, and he had also never announced any plan to deal with it, and therefore it can be concluded that Najib had no intention to make good the diversion of funds in the very first place.
“Taking something without permission and without any intention to return is ROMPAK. There is no two ways about it, even if the owner later manages to find it,” Chan concluded.
Chan further noted that in a similar manner, it could be said that the previous BN controlled federal government had also ‘rompak’ Sabahans of their rights since the 1970s. He gave an example where BN has ‘rompak’ the status of Sabah from equal partner to that of being one of the 13 states in Malaysia.
He also noted that the same BN government is also guilty of ‘rompak’ when it failed to return 40% of the total revenue collected from Sabah to the Sabah state government as stipulated in Article 112C in the Federal Constitution.
“It was only after the change of federal government that there has been a change of this ‘rompak’ mentality, and that rights that were taken from Sabah are slowly being returned to the state.
As a member in the MA63 Technical Committee I can say that negotiations as to the particulars are ongoing and I believe a decision benefitting both parties could be reached very soon,” Chan said.