Putrajaya should disclose how much the country’s top 20 billionaires including Tan Sri Mokhzani Mahathir contribute in taxes, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim demanded today.

The PKR de facto chief alleged that there was pressure from the country’s mega-rich for concessions on the amount of taxes they pay.

“I want to ask among the top 20 billionaires, how much in tax are we getting because we don’t want the rich to be given too much space and flexibility that they can escape paying taxes through loopholes,” he said while debating the amendment bill to the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) Act 1995.

The former finance minister pointed out that billionaires including T. Ananda Krishnan, Tan Sri Dr Teh Hong Piow and former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s son were able to grow their net worth “in a short period of time”.

Adding that there were claims the group also received preferential treatment not available to the average taxpayer, Anwar said the IRB must get more power to resist alleged pressure from the wealthiest in the country.

“It is not easy for normal people to get leeway, but I received information where the board was pressured and the billionaires were given flexibility [to pay] in instalments of up to 18 months.

“If this is consistently given to all, then I don’t have a problem with it, but of course we can’t give exceptions,” he said.

Anwar also said the board should study watchdog group Global Financial Integrity’s report to trace illicit funds, which he said did not appear in the banking system and the IRB’s records.

“How can we burden the people to pay when the richest can run away with billions?”

Source : Malay Mail

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