Malaysian PM Najib: Tax offenders declared bankrupt can still get government aid

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak

KUALA LUMPUR - Taxpayers who have been declared bankrupt by the Insolvency Department are still qualified to receive government assistance such as the 1Malaysia Peoples' Aid (BR1M).

"Individual taxpayers who have been declared bankrupt and are registered with the Insolvency Department can still receive aid from the Government, such as BR1M," Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said in a written reply in the Dewan Rakyat Monday.

He was responding to a question by Datuk Dr Makin @ Marcus Mojigoh (BN-Putatan), who asked whether the Government intends to declare bankrupt those who fail to pay their taxes and the type of assistance offered to such individuals.

To the initial question on the amount collected by the Inland Revenue Board (IRB), Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said total gross direct tax collected stood at RM114.02 billion (S$36.01 billion) as of Dec 31 last year, while income tax that has yet to be collected is estimated at RM6.81 billion.

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"Tax laws enable the Government to take action against those who fail to pay outstanding amounts.

"Before we take civil action, a reminder letter as well as a notice of arrears will be sent to the taxpayer. We can also bar him from leaving the country, based on the Section 104 of the Income Tax Act 1967." he added.

"If all else fails, and the taxpayer still refuses to pay the arrears, the Government will initiate civil action under Section 106 of the Income Tax Act 1967.

"If that is unsuccessful, the Government can take action to declare that person a bankrupt and move to close his business."

He also noted that a total of 116 bankruptcy cases had been registered with the Insolvency Department and the IRB, with total tax arrears of RM14.4 million.

"Of the total number, 93 cases involved individual taxpayers and RM11.32 million, while the rest involved companies or corporations," said Najib.