Guan Eng chides Najib over misuse of funds claim

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KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 5): Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng says former premier and finance minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is being dishonest when he accused the new government of misusing RM42.2 billion "when he left us with only RM450 million".

"Datuk Seri Najib has continued to harp on the Consolidated Fund of the federal government of RM42.2 billion as of Dec 31, 2017 but failed to mention that out of this amount only RM11.86 billion was in the Consolidated Revenue Account," said Lim.

He said payments and transfer of government monies can only be made or used from the Consolidated Revenue Account and only the sum of RM11.86 billion in that account was actually available for transfer to the Tax Refund Trust Account.

"However, this RM11.86 billion available was not transferred to the Tax Refund Trust Account. The total outstanding GST (goods and services tax) and (income) tax refunds as at May 31 as announced earlier was RM35.4 billion," he said in a statement today.

Lim said the federal government policy requires all collections received to be kept in a common pool of funds known as Consolidated Fund.

However, the amount kept in the Consolidated Fund actually belongs to three different accounts maintained by the accountant general, namely the Consolidated Revenue Account, Consolidated Loan Account and Consolidated Trust Account.

Lim was responding to Najib's Facebook posting on Monday in which he accused the new government of misusing the RM42.2 billion funds that the previous administration had allegedly left in the federal government's Consolidated Fund prior to the 14th general election.

Najib said the bulk of the funds may have been used by the new government to cover the cost it had to incur during the June-August tax holiday as a result of abolishing the GST.

Lim, in his response, stressed that only the amount held in Consolidated Revenue Account can be used for GST and tax refund purposes.

He said when the new administration took over on May 9, the latest position in the unaudited Consolidated Fund as of April 30 was RM35.5 billion, and out of this amount only RM450 million was sitting in the unaudited Consolidated Revenue Account.

"In other words, the available balance of RM11.86 billion as of Dec 31, 2017 in the Consolidated Revenue Account has deteriorated to only RM450 million as of April 30. This shows the Consolidated Revenue Account has deteriorated substantially by RM11.41 billion in just over four months," he said.

Lim called on Najib to explain the drastic drop of RM11.41 billion or 96% in the Consolidated Revenue Account since Dec 31, 2017 to April 30.

The finance minister also said that despite the tax holiday period, the unaudited Consolidated Fund position of the federal government has improved to RM59.9 billion as of July 31.

At the same time, the unaudited Consolidated Revenue Account balance has also recorded a higher balance of RM3.81 billion from RM450 million as of April 30, he said.

"This increase in unaudited Consolidated Revenue Account to RM3.81 billion on July 31 is an improvement of 8.5 times by Pakatan Harapan as compared to Barisan Nasional as of April 30. Hence, it is not true that the Pakatan Harapan government has misused the Consolidated Fund inherited from the Barisan Nasional government as alleged by Datuk Seri Najib," he said.