Rebutting Najib, Guan Eng insists “pay first, talk later” tax law is new

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A new section in the Finance Act requiring taxpayers to settle assessed amounts even if they legally dispute it is new, former finance minister Lim Guan Eng said today.

Rejecting predecessor Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s assertion that Section 103b of the Income Tax Act predated the Perikatan Nasional administration, Lim said an accompanying amendment to the Finance Act proved this was not the case.

“Najib is dead wrong on facts and sadly mistaken on the law, for claiming that this Section 103B had been in existence since the time of the Barisan Nasional (BN) government, and not introduced by the PN government.

“If Najib’s contention is true that the new section 103B was there all along since BN days, why should section 103B be inserted under section 20 of the Finance Act 2020(Act 831),” Lim said in a statement.

Lim pointed out that the Section 103B was only approved by PN in the 2021 Budget and gazetted on December 31 last year.

“Najib should have the courage to admit that he had wrongly accused me of trying to deceive the rakyat.

“Is the status of Ummo so weak and inferior that Umno continues to defend the draconian acts of the PN government against the rakyat, when PN and Bersatu bully Umno with impunity?”

Lim then repeated his criticism of the amended tax law, saying it ousted the powers of the court to grant a stay to action by Inland Revenue Board Malaysia (IRD), forcing taxpayers and businesses to “pay first, talk later” to any tax assessment.

He also reiterated that the PN administration should not look to taxpayers to replenish public coffers in the middle of a recession.

“Why should the people pay for PN’s mistakes,” he further asked.

Yesterday, Najib echoed Lim to say that PN should not use the section to hound taxpayers for revenue, after noting that its 2021 tax collection target was on par with 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic hit. – MMO