Najib seeks to strike out bankruptcy notice over RM1.69b unpaid tax

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Datuk Seri Najib Razak wants to strike out the bankruptcy notice filed against him over his failure to pay RM1.69 billion income tax arrears to the Inland Revenue Board (IRB).

Mohd Fadli Hamzah/NST

The former prime minister was ordered to pay the amount following a summary judgment entered against him at the Kuala Lumpur High Court on July 22 last year.

His lawyer Wee Yeong Kang when contacted said they had filed an application to strike out the notice on May 31.

He said on the same day they had also filed a stay application of the bankruptcy proceedings pending his client’s appeal against the High Court’s summary judgment order.

The matter has been fixed for case management on July 22 by deputy registrar Ida Rahayu Sharif during online proceedings today.

According to a document on the striking out application, the former prime minister claimed that the bankruptcy notice dated Feb 4 was mala fide (bad intention), oppressive and an abuse of the court process.

He claimed that the notice issued against him was a ploy for political conspiracy and was actuated by malice.

He further contended that the High Court order pursuant to Order 14 of the Rules of Court 2021, is not a final judgment within the context of the Income Tax Act or the Insolvency Act 1967.

Therefore, he said the issuance of the bankruptcy notice by the IRB was deemed premature considering the fact that his appeals against the High Court’s decision and his tax assessment which are currently pending at the Court of Appeal and before the Special Commissioners of Income Tax (SCIT).

On Feb 4, the IRB filed a notice of bankruptcy against Najib at the Kuala Lumpur High Court.

According to the notice, Najib has to pay RM1.69 billion with interest of five percent a year between July 22, 2020, and Feb 4, 2021, amounting to RM45.9 million from the date of the order of the summary judgment as well as costs of RM15,000.

This brings the accumulated sum demanded by the IRB to RM1.73 billion.

IRB had also in the notice said if Najib does not comply with the requests stated in the notice, a bankruptcy proceeding could be instituted against him.

On July 22, last year, the High Court allowed the IRB’s application for a summary judgment to be entered against Najib in its suit to recover the RM1.69 billion in taxes from the latter for the period between 2011 and 2017.

Subsequently, he was ordered by the court to pay the amount.

Najib had on March 31 applied for a stay of the court’s order for him to settle the RM1.69 billion pending his appeal at the Court of Appeal against the summary judgment order.

The appeal has been fixed for hearing on June 16. – NST