Over the weekend, Najib Razak accused the government of harassing him. The poor former prime minister moaned, cried and bitched on his Facebook page that he could not peacefully eat his breakfast. Apparently, a small group of people still angry with his thievery carried some placards and a poster of him in clown makeup, and the ex-premier was terribly upset.
However, unlike an earlier drama where the crooked Najib unleashed his pack of gangsters on six students, threatening and beating the undergraduates, this time his thugs were nowhere to be found after Lokman Noor Adam and three others have been charged with two counts of assaulting a 23-year-old Universiti Malaya student during a protest staged outside of the university on March 22.
But terrorising students for exercising their freedom of expression should be the last thing in Najib’s to-do-list. In fact, he should stop worrying about losing face over some clown caricature of himself. He has a bigger problem – going to prison sooner than he had expected. And the narcissistic former leader has nobody but his big mouth to blame.
Days ago, we had written that the former Malaysian prime minister has overplayed his hand – displaying arrogance and disgusting behaviour as if he is still the boss running the country. Unlike his former deputy, Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, who keeps a low profile after stepping down as UMNO president, Najib Razak has launched a campaign for a grand comeback as the next Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Last year, we had also written that there were many ways to skin a cat. At his peak, American most notorious gangster – Al-Capone – was practically controlling the entire Chicago like his private business. He was untouchable by the U.S. authorities for years. The ultimate brilliant strategy that had finally put him in federal prison was prosecuting him in 1931 for tax evasion.
Who would have thought that a simple tool such as tax evasion was all it took to skin the American most brutal gangster? And now the same tool is being used on the world’s biggest crook – Najib Razak. The arrogant ex-PM has been slapped with a tax bill for an extra RM1.5 billion (US$368 million; £282.4 million) of income tax by the Inland Revenue Board (IRB).
As reported by the Edge Financial Daily, Mr. Najib had apparently undeclared taxable income of close to RM4 billion between 2011 and 2017, including the RM2.6 billion (US$681 million) “donation” that he has claimed was a donation received from the royal family of Saudi Arabia. This means Najib had not only evaded taxes, but also the only billionaire prime minister of the country.
Unlike the case of American gangster Al-Capone, however, the Malaysian tax department had politely sent a letter to the former prime minister about a week ago to settle the bill. Now, this is where the drama will get super excited and interesting. Najib and his hotshot lawyer may claim donations are not taxable, but tax experts have different interpretations, not to mention he was not the donor.
Although donations are tax deductible for people who wish to donate to charitable house, such donations must be made to approve institutions. You cannot simply donate to your friend and claim for tax deductions. In the case of Najib, he has insisted that some royal members of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had donated to him. Clearly, the name “Najib Razak” is not an approved institution.
Even then, you must present or have in your possession valid proof when you claim your tax deductibles. But in the case of Najib, he did not have the full collection of receipts to prove that the RM2.6 billion, let alone the almost RM4 billion he received between 2011 and 2017, were donations. Heck, he did not even bother to declare his so-called “donations” at all.
One can only imagine how dirty money can be easily legitimized if everyone start donating to each other to evade taxes. The Edge also quoted tax experts as saying that donations are subject to income tax. Therefore, Najib has committed an offence by not declaring the RM2.6 billion as his income, regardless of the source.
To make matters worse for Najib, he had made a small U-turn during an hour-grilling with Al-Jazeera’s reporter Mary Ann Jolley last year. Speaking to Al Jazeera’s 101 East in an exclusive interview on Oct 26, 2018, serial liar Najib admitted that he actually did not verify the source of the RM2.6 billion that was discovered in his bank account, which had allegedly been siphoned from 1MDB.
In the interview, the former prime minister said he had “assumed” the money was “donations” connected to Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. This effectively proved that he had indeed earned the controversial RM2.6 billion. Hence, they are taxable. The question is whether Najib had earned it illegally or legitimately. Either way, he didn’t declare it, so he’s in deep shit.
The disgraced Najib son of the Razak is trapped. If he agrees to pay the RM1.4 billion in taxes, it shows he had earned close to RM4 billion between 2011 and 2017. He will then be subject to further investigations as to how he became a billionaire within the period of time. If he disagrees to pay the taxes, he will be slapped with charges of tax evasion.
Even if Najib would like to argue that the RM2.6 billion was a donation, he could not. One of his witnesses, former Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, has changed his story about the Saudi royal donations after his 8-hour questioning by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) in July last year.
Widely reported by foreign news, Mr. Zahid had initially claimed the “king and prince”, whom he had met, had donated the money because of Malaysia’s commitment in fighting terrorism, and being a moderate Muslim country with a plural society. He also claimed that the Arab royal family was impressed by how Malaysia still managed to remain moderate without sidelining any other religions.
Zahid, who was then vice-president of UMNO, proudly told all and sundry at a meeting with Kepong UMNO division that the donors were “Arab king and prince”, and that the royal family had decided to make the huge donation due to Najib’s anti-Jewish stance. He also said the donors wanted to keep UMNO and the ruling Barisan Nasional coalition in power.
More importantly, Mr. Zahid said he saw with his own eyes the cheque made under his boss Najib’s name – “I saw the documents myself – the original documents, not photostated ones, and I alsosaw the money trail. I obtained the information accurately and did not add or minus the facts. The conspiracy to topple the government would take place if not stopped.”
But after interrogated by the MACC last year, the equally corrupt Zahid Hamidi sang a different tune – telling reporters about “wakil (representative)” of the Arab family, not “Arab king and prince”. Najib had also lost a critical witness when Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Ahmed Al-Jubeir re-confirmed that the RM2.6 billion donations received by Najib had nothing to do with Saudi Arabia whatsoever.
According to Inland Revenue Board (IRB), you can be audited for up to 5 years of assessment, and there is no time limit on the audit if there is fraud or tax evasion, so the immediate problem facing Najib is with the income tax department. According to the Income Tax Act of 1967, tax evaders could face fines of RM1,000 to RM20,000 or imprisonment or both, and 300% of tax undercharged.
Source : Finance Twitter