Panama papers leak: Legislator demands probe into Malaysians evading tax

PHOTO: The Star

Malaysia's longest-serving legislator Tengku Razaleigh Hamzah wants the government to find out if any person has been evading taxes by parking money abroad, following the Panama Papers revelation on Sunday.

A probe at home is for the purpose of good governance and transparency, the Malaysiakini online portal quoted Tengku Razaleigh, a veteran of the ruling United Malays National Organisation, as saying yesterday outside Parliament.

But the prince from Kelantan also pointed out that the Panama Papers leak had just highlighted a common practice among businessmen and politicians, even though hiding money in this way might be illegal, reported the Malay Mail.

"This has been going on for a long time. Everybody knows of the existence of all these facilities and they took advantage of it and kept their money abroad in order to be shielded from tax," said the 79-year-old, who was once seen to stand a chance of becoming prime minister.

"It's not only politicians but anyone who feels he needs to keep money in a foreign country that can save him from paying tax, why not?" he conceded.

Tengku Razaleigh refused to comment if action should be taken against Prime Minister Najib Razak, whose son was among those named in the leak.

Mr Najib's son, Mohd Nazifuddin, who is in his early 30s, was identified as a director of two offshore companies registered in the British Virgin Islands with the help of Mossack Fonseca.

"Why are you going to Najib? Not anybody I think (is above the law).

"I am not defending anyone. You break the law, you face the music, including me," said Tengku Razaleigh.

Mr Najib has been in the hot seat for more than a year now, over allegations that he had channelled money from state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Berhad into his own accounts.

Get MyPaper for more stories.