KUALA LUMPUR: It is untrue that former finance minister Lim Guan Eng had revoked Yayasan Al-Bukhary’s tax exempt status, says Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.
The Prime Minister said that under Sub-Section 44(6) of the Income Tax Act, it was the Inland Revenue Board director-general’s prerogative to revoke tax exemptions.
“Allegations that he (Lim) cancelled the tax exemption (to Yayasan Al-Bukhary) are not true.
“The fact is that the approval was made on Feb 25, 2021, which is approval (on tax exemption) that is unprecedented, involving Yayasan Al-Bukhary and the Al-Bukhary Group,” said Anwar during Prime Minister's Question Time (PMQT) in Parliament on Tuesday (March 21).
Anwar was responding to Cha Kee Chin (PH-Rasah), who asked whether Lim had cancelled the tax exemption given to Yayasan Al-Bukhary between May 2018 to Feb 2020.
Last week, Perikatan Nasional chairman Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin claimed that Lim had decided to re-apply tax and place a 45% penalty tax on Yayasan Al-Bukhary in 2018.
Muhyiddin claimed that Yayasan Al-Bukhary had appealed to him as the eighth prime minister to be exempted from taxes for works related to Islamic charities.
Meanwhile, Cha said there were accusations that the Prime Minister was against poor people and he asked for clarification from Anwar.
In response, Anwar said that the present government's views are different from the previous administration.
“Before this, big companies were given tax exemptions after donating to political parties. I chose to speak to tycoon Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary to support projects that benefit the country and donate directly to poor paddy farmers,” said Anwar.
“RM60mil and 30% of profits were given to padi farmers. So there’s a difference here, one chose to donate to a party and another to padi farmers. I chose the latter,” added Anwar.
In a brief statement on March 18, Syed Mokhtar said he was against anyone associating him with any political parties.
In December last year, Anwar said he spoke to Syed Mokhtar about the latter’s perceived monopoly of rice imports through national rice company Bernas.
Meanwhile, Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man asked if other companies that made windfall profits would be asked to donate to the poor.
Anwar said the present government has a list of 60 local and multinational companies that have given a commitment to fund TVET trainining.
Anwar said these companies included the Sunway Group and Berjaya Group, among others.