PETALING JAYA: A summary judgment was entered against a son of Najib Razak to pay the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) RM13.16 million in unpaid tax as there was no triable issue, the High Court said.
Judicial Commissioner Julie Lack Abdullah said this was because the LHDN’s claim against company director Nizar was not time barred.
The Edge reported her as saying that the law states that a person who owed taxes must first pay up before appealing to the Special Commissioners of Income Tax (SCIT).
Nizar, who is also the Pekan Umno Youth division chief, had outstanding tax payable to LHDN from 2011 to 2018.
In her 14-page judgment, Julie said she concurred with the findings of High Court judge Ahmad Bache who had entered summary judgment against Najib, the former prime minister, who owed the LHDN RM1.69 billion.
Lawyers representing Najib and Nizar had argued that SCIT could be usurping the judicial power of the court as enshrined under Article 121 of the Federal Constitution.
“I shall in all humility adopt the rationale by (Justice) Ahmad, where he elucidated on the reasons why the provisions in the Income Tax Act 1967 (ITA) do not contravene the powers of the court,” she said.
Ahmad, in his judgment delivered earlier this year, had ruled that the correctness of an assessment is appealable to the SCIT first and the High Court would only decide after an appeal.
Relying on another Federal Court case, of the Government of Malaysia vs Ghani Gilong, Julie also explained why the LHDN’s claim against Nizar was not time barred.
“The plea of limitation based on Section 91(1) and (3) of the ITA by a taxpayer cannot be entertained by the High Court.
“Only the Special Commissioners (SCIT) have the power to do so,” she said in referring to the 1995 apex court judgment.
She said Section 99 of the ITA stipulates the right of a taxpayer to appeal as Nizar’s lawyers had argued that the LHDN had wrongly calculated in their claim for him to pay the extra taxes.
“I find the issues raised by the defendant to be devoid of merits, baseless and do not constitute triable issues. They must be rejected. The government’s application for a summary judgment is allowed with costs,” she was quoted as saying by the business news daily.
A summary judgment is a verdict entered by a court for one party against another without a full trial.
Another of Najib’s businessman son, Mohamad Nazifuddin, was also ordered to pay RM37.6 million in July after the High Court in Kuala Lumpur entered a summary judgment in favour of the LHDN for tax owed between 2011 and 2018.
Najib and his sons have filed appeals to the Court of Appeal.