All taxpayers required to pay once notice is given, High Court hears in Najib's RM1.69bil LHDN case

  • Nation
  • Monday, 22 Jun 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: All taxpayers are required to pay their dues once they received the notice from the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) – and this includes Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the High Court heard.

Deputy revenue solicitor Abu Tariq Jamaluddin from the LHDN said the provision under the Income Tax Act 1967 had been established for years.

It would be unfair to other taxpayers who paid on time if Najib, as the defendant, was exempted, he said.

In his submission on Monday (June 22), Abu Tariq said Najib had in fact been given two opportunities to answer LHDN's notice, but had failed to respond.

He said LHDN filed the suit to recover the money as Najib did not make any payment.

He added that the court should allow a summary judgment as Najib could argue the merits of a tax reassessment with the Special Commissioner of Income Tax (SCIT).

LHDN's application to obtain a summary judgment in its suit against Najib to recover RM1.69bil in unpaid income tax.

A summary judgment is where a court decides a case without hearing testimonies from witnesses.

Najib's counsel Tan Sri Muhammad Shafee Abdullah said that LHDN, as the plaintiff, had brought the suit before the court by invoking Section 106(3) of the Income Tax Act 1967.

Section 106(3) states that "in any proceedings under this section the court shall not entertain any plea that the amount of tax sought to be recovered is excessive, incorrectly assessed, under appeal or incorrectly increased".

Shafee argued that despite going to court, the plaintiff was depriving the court from looking at the merits of the case when they applied for a summary judgment through Order 14 of the Rules of Court 2012.

"They use nice words like 'scheme of recovery' and so on.

"Isn't this an intrusion to judiciary power that the court cannot do anything?" he said.

Shafee claimed that LHDN's intention to apply for a summary judgment was so that the defendant would not be able to fight his case.

"Order 14 is a draconian law and Section 106(3) raised a monster out of this law," he added.

Shafee said if the court allowed the summary judgment, LHDN would be able to oppressively move the RM1.6bil tax that his client said he did not owe to them.

After the submissions, Justice Ahmad Bache said he would need about a month to decide on the matter and that parties involved would be informed of the date for the decision to be delivered later.

On June 25, 2019, the government through LHDN filed a suit against Najib seeking payment for a total of RM1,692,872,924.83, with 5% a year interest from the date of judgment, as well as costs and other relief deemed fit by the court.

It also said Najib was given 60 days to pay the taxes but had failed to do so.

In July the same year, Najib filed an application to stay the proceedings of the main suit pending an appeal on the tax assessment to LHDN, but it was dismissed, resulting in a hearing of submission for summary judgment.

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