Najib’s Daughter Nooryana Loses Bid to Stay IRB Suit for RM10M in Unpaid Taxes

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The High Court today dismissed Nooryana Najwa Najib’s application for a stay of the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) civil suit against her for RM10.3 million in tax arrears.

High Court judge Faizah Jamaludin denied the application after hearing submissions from both Nooryana’s lawyer Muhammad Farhan Shafee and government lawyer Norhisham Ahmad, Malaysiakini reported.

In her application, the daughter of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak also sought for the High Court to refer questions about the constitutionality of the Income Tax Act to the Federal Court.

Denying the application, Faizah said she could not allow a stay just because Nooryana was challenging the provision and that it was still legally binding as long as the law has yet to be deemed unconstitutional.

She added that if a stay were to be allowed, it would create a basis for others facing a similar case in the country to get a stay of their hearing, just because they are challenging the provision.

“If I am to allow this at the last hour, on the question of whether Section 106 is against the Constitution, then every single taxpayer in this country will apply for a stay on this ground,” Faizah said.

Faizah then fixed August 8 for both parties to submit additional submissions and August 26 for the summary judgment decision.

A summary judgment is a judgment entered by a court for one party and against another party summarily, which is without a full trial.

Earlier, Nooryana mounted a legal challenge against the constitutionality of a provision under the Income Tax Act.

She claimed Section 106(3) of the Act that prohibited judicial discretion in the IRB’s civil suits, such as the one against her, was unconstitutional.

“The court has got no choice but to give judgment in favour of the plaintiff.

“We are saying that this provision is unconstitutional because it removes the power of the High Court judge, or any judge handling the matter, to make a decision

“In our system, where we have three limbs of democracy — the Parliament, Judiciary and the Executive — the courts should be the ones making the decision. So that is the basis of our challenge,” he said.

The IRB filed the suit on July 24 last year, claiming that Nooryana failed to submit the Individual Income Tax Return Forms to the IRB, under Section 77 of the Income Tax Act for the years of assessment from 2011 to 2017.

It contended that the defendant had not paid the amount of income tax owed, including the increase, worth a total of RM10,335,292.36.

She, however, claimed the sum being taxed should be exempted as it was gifted to her by her husband Daniyar Kessikbayev and his family, whom she said are independently wealthy.

She has since filed an appeal with the Special Commissioner of Income Tax.

On July 22, the High Court had ruled in favour of the IRB in a summary judgment by allowing it to collect tax arrears from Najib for the amount of RM1.69 billion.

In the civil suit, Najib stated that the tax assessment was inaccurate as a substantial amount of the income came from donations received from an Arab donor and some of the purported donations were returned.

Najib also stated that the monies received were also political donations and the remaining are his own income.

Similarly, Najib’s son and Nooryana’s brother, Datuk Mohd Nazifuddin was also ordered to pay RM37.6 million in unpaid taxes to the IRB. – MMO