Malaysiakini Opinion

Yet another case of criminal breach of trust?

R Nadeswaran  |  Published:  |  Modified:

COMMENT | This is not a legal document nor does it pretend to be an argument of sorts. These are views of Joe Public who has the knowledge or reads about issues in newspapers.

Depending on who you talk to, there are always differing views when legal issues are discussed. If you had talked to a former attorney-general, he would say that there is no case to answer. If you talk to the current one, he would likely give consent to prosecute.

Let’s assume I am a high-powered government servant. I have been put in charge to collect large sums of money. I had collected more than what was due and the policy is to deposit that amount in a special fund so that refunds can be made to the appropriate parties.

However, on instructions or otherwise, I take a big chunk from that money and transfer it (to a different account) for a different purpose. This money is happily spent while those waiting for their refunds can only sigh and say: “Typical government department. When they want to collect, it is money upfront but when it comes to refunds, they find all kinds of excuses to delay payment.”

Now, if it was my responsibility as a senior Treasury official to handle money, then you’ll get the drift. But please, I am not insinuating or accusing anyone of dishonesty – yet.

I am just trying to put in layman’s terms what Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng revealed in Parliament on Wednesday – that there’s a monstrous RM18 billion shortfall in the goods and services tax (GST) refunds, which he claimed was misused by the previous administration...

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