KUALA LUMPUR: Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has failed to show any special circumstances which entitle him to a stay of a court order involving a RM1.69bil payment for income tax arrears.
Justice Ahmad Bache, therefore, has dismissed Najib’s application for a stay of execution on a summary judgment obtained by the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN).
“It will set a bad precedent to be followed and used by other taxpayers as a ground to avoid or delay paying taxes and giving rise, albeit wrongly, to an inference that ‘double standards’ are being allowed and being practised,” Justice Ahmad said in his decision via email yesterday, adding that every taxpayer stood equal before the law.
He also pointed out that Najib could still negotiate with LHDN for some payments to be made pending the disposal of his hearing at the Special Commissioner of Income Tax, where Najib is appealing against the sum demanded from him.
“This court believes that the plaintiff, through LHDN, is always open for discussion regarding payment.
“More often than not, LHDN subscribes to a payment scheme whereby the taxpayer will be allowed to pay by instalments, agreed upon by both parties on a ‘win-win’ situation.
“This court takes judicial notice of this good and noble practice because about 90% of income tax cases registered before this court in one calendar year were settled in that fashion, avoiding unnecessary trials and saving judicial time,” he said.
He said LHDN had the monetary ability to compensate Najib if he succeeds in his appeal against the tax assessment, which his legal team has called “an astronomical amount”.In dismissing the stay application, the court also ordered Najib to pay RM15,000 in costs.
On July 22 last year, the High Court ruled that Najib must pay LHDN the amount after allowing LHDN’s application to enter a summary judgment against him.
A summary judgment is when the court decides a particular case summarily without calling witnesses to testify in a trial.
On June 25, 2019, the government through LHDN filed the suit against Najib seeking payment for RM1.69bil, with interest at 5% a year from the date of judgment, as well as costs and other reliefs deemed fit by the court.
It also said that Najib was given 60 days to pay the tax, together with the 10% increase, but had failed to do so.
Najib is appealing against the High Court’s decision on the July 22 summary judgment. The appeal will be heard at the Court of Appeal tomorrow.
On Feb 4, LHDN filed a bankruptcy notice against the Pekan MP.