Political contributions are not taxable by law, claims Najib

by MARK RAO / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL

Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak (picture) has claimed that political contributions including money from abroad are exempted from personal income tax, and he instead trained his gun on the government for leaking personal tax information.

The former prime minister (PM) made the statement on his Facebook page following a local daily’s report that the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) slapped a RM1.5 billion tax bill over close to RM4 billion of undeclared income between 2011 and 2017.

The business newspaper reported that the undeclared income is believed to include the RM2.6 billion which international investigators had tracked related to scandal-ridden state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB).

Najib, in the social media post, insisted that the money was a donation from the Saudi Arabian government.

He claimed that political contributions, including those from the Saudi Arabian Finance Ministry, is not taxable by law.

“Secondly, as is general knowledge, income derived from countries abroad cannot be taxed under (Malaysia’s) tax laws.

“This is despite the fact that I was the guardian of party funds and everything that was managed was for party affairs,” claimed the former PM, who is already facing 42 various charges including abuse of power and criminal breach of trust.

The former PM also claimed that the report of the tax bill is a further indication of the current government’s willful abuse of the law.

“If the Pakatan Harapan government wants, they can leak at will to the media any individual’s tax information — even though it is supposed to be a secret, as required by law — if they think it will benefit their political interests,” he said in the posting.

But Najib is confident that justice will prevail despite all the allegations. “The Pakatan Harapan government can do as they please, but I am confident that justice will prevail and the people will be able to assess whether this government has acted fairly or abused their power for their political interests,” he said.

Najib in his posting did not deny or admit whether he has been slapped with the additional tax bill.

Meanwhile, the IRB is keeping mum on the RM1.5 billion tax bill slapped on Najib.

“We have no comment at this time. If you have any queries, you should direct them to the local daily (that reported it) as they first came out with the story,” an IRB spokesperson told The Malaysian Reserve yesterday.

In June last year, the IRB had said the RM2.6 billion, which was funnelled into Najib’s account, was subject to further examination.

The move to conduct further examinations came after the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission reopened the investigation into 1MDB.

On Feb 16, 2016, the IRB had cleared that the RM2.6 billion was a donation and “voluntary in nature” following the findings of various agencies investigating the wire transfer to Najib’s account.

But such transfer, the IRB had said, would be subject to tax if it was given in return for services or benefits and used in a business activity.