Guan Eng wants retraction, apology from Muhyiddin over 'tax exempt' claim

Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin. -filepic

KUALA LUMPUR: Former finance minister Lim Guan Eng wants an apology from Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin by Tuesday (March 21) for allegedly defaming him over the Yayasan Al-Bukhary issue.

The demand for an apology from the Perikatan Nasional chairman comes after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim confirmed that Lim did not revoke the foundation's tax exempt status, which was contrary to Muhyiddin's claims.

"He (Muhyiddin) must retract and apologise. Failing which, further action will be taken and not just merely civil action.

"I give him till today to do so and if he doesn't, we will wait to see what happens tomorrow," Lim said at a press conference in the Parliament media centre on Tuesday.

Although Muhyiddin was not in Parliament, Lim said the Pagoh MP would be aware of what transpired in the August House via live broadcasts of parliamentary proceedings.

Earlier Tuesday, during Prime Minister's Question Time (PMQT) in Parliament, Anwar informed the Dewan Rakyat that it was untrue that Lim had revoked the foundation's tax exemption.

Rather, Anwar said a tax exemption was given to Yayasan Al-Bukhary and the Al-Bukhary Group on Feb 25, 2021.

Meanwhile, Lim said it was clear from Anwar's answer that the power to revoke tax exemptions lies with the Inland Revenue Board director-general and not the Prime Minister or Finance Minister.

"As I had previously stated, I had never seen the file nor directed that the tax exemption for the foundation be revoked," he said.

Lim said that Muhyiddin had maliciously defamed him to gain Malay support by saying that he had revoked the tax exemption meant for a charitable Islamic foundation.

On March 9, the former prime minister said he was questioned by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on the tax exemption appeal by Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary for his Yayasan Al-Bukhary charity.

On March 11, Muhyiddin said that it was Lim who decided to reapply taxation and place a 45% penalty tax on Yayasan Al-Bukhary in 2018.

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