by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN & DASHVEENJIT KAUR / pic by MUHD AMIN NAHARUL
THE Inland Revenue Board (IRB) will go after anyone who does not fulfil their tax obligations including ministers from past or current administration, said Prime Minister (PM) Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
“Not only past ministers… anybody who have not been paying, the IRB will go after them,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby yesterday.
Dr Mahathir was responding to a question whether the IRB would probe more past ministers after the board had reportedly slapped former PM Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak with a staggering RM1.5 billion tax bill.
Last week, a financial daily quoted sources as saying that Najib was billed with an additional income tax that he owed to the government.
This was in reference to Najib’s undeclared taxable income of close to RM4 billion between 2011 and 2017, which included the RM2.6 billion that Najib insisted was a donation he received from Saudi Arabia.
Last year, Najib admitted that he did not verify the source of the RM2.6 billion that ended up in his bank account, which had allegedly been siphoned from 1Malaysia Development Bhd.
In his interview with Al Jazeera’s 101 East show, the former PM said he had assumed the money was “donations” connected to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah Abdulaziz Al Saud after the latter gave assurance of his support.
Dr Mahathir added that the government also found that huge taxes, which are backdated for 10 years, were imposed on certain individuals during Najib’s premiership.
“That of course is not legal. You can’t have a new way of computing tax when those people have already paid their taxes according to the former interpretation of the law,” he said.
Shortly after winning the 14th General Election, Dr Mahathir said there were individuals and business people who were forced to pay more taxes than they were required to by the previous government.
He added that they were approached by the IRB to pay up and if they failed to do so, they would be blacklisted and had their passports impounded.
Their account books were also seized and raids were conducted, he said, adding that all these were actions to disrupt their businesses if they did not heed the IRB’s instructions.
Dr Mahathir said the move was suppressing despite documents showed to prove they had paid taxes.