Former finance minister Lim Guan Eng did not cancel a tax exemption afforded to the Albukhary Foundation as alleged by Muhyiddin Yassin, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim told the Dewan Rakyat today.
After Muhyiddin claimed that Lim revoked the foundation’s tax-exempt status, Lim threatened to sue the former prime minister for his “seditious” statement that implied that a non-Muslim minister had revoked the tax-exempt status of a Muslim charitable organisation.
Anwar said the decision to exempt anyone or any entity from tax was the “sole prerogative” of the Inland Revenue Board’s (LHDN) director-general, and not the finance minister or the prime minister.
In reality, he said an “extraordinary tax exemption” was only afforded to the foundation and the Albukhary Group of Companies on Feb 25, 2021.
“The government confirms via records in the finance ministry that Bagan (Lim), when he was finance minister, never made any cancellation with regards to the Albukhary Foundation’s taxes.
“Hence, claims that Lim had cancelled the tax exemption are not true,” Anwar said in a reply to Cha Kee Chin (PH-Rasah).
Cha had asked for details on the tax exemption afforded to the foundation and companies run by businessman Syed Mokhtar Albukhary, and how the federal government benefitted from exempting his entities from tax.
Anwar said while past governments had given big corporations tax exemptions in return for donations to political parties or individuals, his administration had a different stance.
In the case of Syed Mokhtar, he said, he was asked to donate RM60 million to padi farmers and share 30% of his net profits with them.
In December, Anwar said he had spoken to Syed Mokhtar “and he had been reprimanded because he monopolises rice imports” through Padiberas Nasional Bhd (Bernas).
Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man (PN-Kubang Kerian) then asked Anwar if the government intends to urge other corporations that made millions during the Covid-19 pandemic, such as Top Glove, to also do their bit in helping rubber tappers.
Anwar said 60 corporations have been called on to fund technical and vocational education (TVET) and training throughout the country.
He said the Albukhary group has also stepped in to help with TVET programmes in Pekan, Pahang, where it has factories.
“These TVET programmes would benefit largely our Malay youths with a promise of getting higher pay,” he said.
Meanwhile, Lim has demanded Muhyiddin to make an open apology over the latter’s remarks on the revocation of Al-Bukhary Foundation’s tax exemption.
The Bagan MP also urged Muhyiddin to retract his allegations immediately.
Lim said that legal action would be taken against Muhyiddin if he failed to apologise and retract his statement and gave the Pagoh MP until today to do so.
“Legal action (on Muhyiddin) would not just be a civil case. I hope he knows what is happening even though he was not present in Dewan Rakyat this morning.
“I hope he is following the Dewan Rakyat sitting live to know what’s going on.