KUALA LUMPUR: Datuk Seri Najib Razak has failed in his attempt to stay the proceedings of the Inland Revenue Board's (IRB) lawsuit which seeks to recover RM1.69bil in income tax from the former prime minister.
High Court judge Justice Ahmad Bache said after hearing submissions from both parties that the court found the Pekan MP had no strong grounds for a stay of proceedings to be granted.
"The defendant has failed to discharge the burden of proving the existence of special circumstances to the satisfaction of this court," he said on Friday (Feb 28).
In his ruling, Justice Ahmad said the substantial amount of claim did not constitute special circumstance.
Najib had contended in his application that the RM1.69bil claim would effectively bankrupt him and disqualify him as the Pekan MP. In this issue, the judge said, such contention was nothing more than fear of losing.
"The court opined that the defendant's fear of losing is with respect mere speculative and without lawful basis," he said, adding that Najib could still contest the bankruptcy proceedings, if any.
Justice Ahmad also said the IRB had the monetary ability to compensate Najib, should he succeed in his appeal at the IRB.
"There is no unquantifiable loss that could not be recovered from the plaintiff (IRB) should the defendant (Najib) succeed in this appeal," he added.
Najib was represented by lawyer Muhammad Farhan Muhammad Shafee, while the IRB was represented by Senior Revenue Counsel Norhisham Ahmad.
On June 25,2019, the government through IRB filed the suit against Najib seeking payment for a total of RM1,692,872,924.83, with interest at 5% a year from the date of judgment, as well as cost and other relief deemed fit by the court.
It also said Najib was given 60 days to pay the taxes, together with the 10% increase, but failed to do so.
In July, the same year, Najib filed the application to stay the proceedings of the main suit pending an appeal on the tax assessment to the IRB.
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