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Treasury sec-gen: I’m on good terms with finance minister

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Federal Treasury secretary-general Ahmad Badri Mohd Zahir has expressed his support for Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng to ensure the RM19.4 billion in supposed delayed GST refunds are returned to the eligible parties.

Ahmad Badri said in a statement today that he agreed with the findings by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) that the money from the goods and services tax (GST) refunds were used for operational and development expenditure.

He said clients who had made a request for the refunds, include Petronas, Shell and Tenaga Nasional Berhad.

Ahmad Badri also supported the PAC findings that the GST collections were placed in the consolidated fund account and had been transferred in stages as and when it was needed and decided by the GST refund committee.

He noted that this was not in line with Section 54 (2) and Section 54 (5) of the GST Act 2014.

Previously, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng had told Parliament that the RM19.4 billion had been robbed, but Ahmad Badri had subsequently stated otherwise.

However, Ahmad Badri said media reports on the issue should not be mistaken as portraying that there's a misunderstanding between him and Lim.

'I respect his open-mindedness'

"Since appointed as the Treasury secretary-general last year, I had given full cooperation to the finance minister and joined him in various official duties abroad, and the last working trip was to China early this month.

"I respect his open-mindedness in listening to ideas, and respect the difference in opinions," he said.

He added that the synergy of the team had enabled the credit rating agency to retain Malaysia at a good rating of A-, managed the country's liabilities and debts amounting to RM1 trillion, and obtained the Samurai bond worth 200 billion yen early this year.

The PAC report on the RM19.4 billion delayed GST refunds was tabled in Parliament on July 15.

The report also revealed that the National Audit Department had disagreed with Lim and the Customs Department that there was RM19.47 billion in delayed GST refunds as of June 5 last year.

The Audit Department had described both Lim and the Customs Department’s statements on the GST refunds as being inaccurate.

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