Federal Court allows Malaysian Bar to appear as 'amicus curiae' in Najib and son's tax arrears appeal

PUTRAJAYA: The Federal Court has allowed the Malaysian Bar to appear as an ‘amicus curiae’ (friend of the court) in an application for leave to appeal by Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his son Datuk Mohd Nazifuddin relating to their tax arrear payments of RM1.69bil and RM36.7mil, respectively, to the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN).

Lawyer Wee Yeong Kang, who represented Najib and Nazifuddin, confirmed the matter when contacted Friday (Oct 29).

He said the apex court allowed the Malaysian Bar's application to be admitted as amicus curiae on Oct 21.

Wee also said that Deputy Registrar Rasidah Roslee fixed Feb 16, next year, for hearing in the father and son leave appeal application.

The matter was brought up in a case management conducted via Zoom on Friday.

In a letter dated Oct 13 and addressed to the Federal Court, the Malaysian Bar had sought for eight of its lawyers to be amicus curiae to present their arguments and views to assist the court in reaching an appropriate decision in the case.

It said the case involved an important constitutional issue on whether Section 106 (3) of the Income Tax Act 1967 contradicted Article 121 of the Federal Constitution.

On Sept 9, the Court of Appeal affirmed the High Court's decision that allowed an application by LHDN for a summary judgement to claim the tax arrears from Najib and Mohd Nazifuddin.

The High Court had on July 22, last year allowed the LHDN’s application for a summary judgment to be entered against Najib, 68, in its suit to recover RM1.69bil in taxes for the period between 2011 and 2017.

The government, through IRB, filed the suit against Najib on June 25, 2019, asking him to settle the unpaid tax with interest at 5%, a year from the date of judgment, as well as costs and other relief deemed fit by the court.

On July 22 last year, the High Court ruled that Najib must pay LHDN the amount after allowing the 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.

Meanwhile, Nazifuddin, 38, was ordered by the High Court on July 6, last year to pay RM37,644,810.73 in unpaid taxes to the LHDN after it entered a summary judgment.

On Feb 4, LHDN issued a bankruptcy notice against the Pekan MP.

On Sept 13, Najib filed a leave application to appeal the decision at the Federal Court.

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