KUALA LUMPUR, June 17:
The government has delayed the debate on amendments to the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) Act that was to be read for the second time today.
The motion to adjourn was tabled by Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan.
“Under Standing Order 62, the second reading of the Bill will push the debate to the next Dewan Rakyat sitting,” he said before the question and answer session in the House of Representatives began.
However, Ahmad Maslan did not state the reason for the postponement.
Members of the Opposition have protested the amendments as they felt IRB could become an investment body similar to 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
Kelana Jaya member of parliament Wong Chen claimed that taxpayers’ monies will be used to buy bonds, debts or other properties as deemed fit in the IRB Bill amendments.
“If the bill is passed, it will basically change the IRB to an investment body like 1MDB under the personal control of the finance minister.
“The initiative by the Finance Minister, who is also the Prime Minister, is very unusual, will weaken democracy and lacks transparency and accountability,” he said.
He added that all tax and income must be taken into account and incorporated into the Consolidated Fund of the Government, and as such the formation of an investment panel in the IRB violated the corresponding regulation.
Meanwhile, the Finance Ministry released a statement that the postponement was made to allow revisions for the proposed amendments to the Act.
The Ministry also denied allegations that the tax collected by the IRB would be used for investment purposes.
The Ministry clarified that the IRB will only be paid a fee to carry out services as an agent of direct tax collections in which the fees will be used to finance the operating costs and development of the IRB.
“As the IRB is responsible for managing its own operational costs and development, the IRB is authorised to make investment using excesses from its cost savings and development operations.
“Therefore, all statements made in connection with the use of tax collection by the IRB for investment purposes are not true and baseless.”