Masidi: Be like ah long when going after overdue taxes

KOTA KINABALU: Datuk Seri Masidi Manjun (pic) has urged civil servants, especially those in the Sabah Finance Ministry, to “think like an ah long (loan sharks)” when going after taxes and revenue owed to the state.

Speaking during the launch of the state government Accountability Index System here yesterday, the Sabah Finance Minister said unpaid taxes could mean two things, the first being the reflection of the civil servants’ efficiency.

“But at the same time, it could also mirror those who should pay taxes would not settle them as long as no one was chasing after them.

“So, I (jokingly) told my senior officer (in the Finance Ministry) that we should just hire an ah long and it would be easier, we will definitely get the money.

“Unfortunately, we are a government department,” Masidi said to laughter from the floor. But (jokes aside) if we take from a positive perspective, where we show a shred of the zeal shown by ah long in collecting debts, then we will make sure the taxes are paid on time.”

Speaking to reporters later, Masidi pointed out he just wanted to rally the civil servants to do better.

“I was speaking figuratively. What I’m saying is that we should be a bit more tough in demanding money that is due (to the state) because that is government revenue, and we need it to develop Sabah.

“If you know (a person or organisation that) had not settled taxes for years, then don’t give further extensions or that you don’t even send a demand letter ... that is what I’m saying, which is to be more proactive,” he said.

Over the past two months, Masidi said his ministry was able to collect some RM20mil in back sales taxes.

“That is just the surface. So, all we need to do is our jobs, issue a demand, and tell them nicely, no need to break anyone’s legs. But do tell them in no uncertain terms that if you don’t pay, there will be repercussions,” he said.

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