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Malaysia opposition warns against proposed tax investment panel

Published on Jun 13, 2014 2:23 PM

KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) - Malaysia's government has submitted a bill to parliament that would create an investment panel inside the country's tax revenue agency which could invest in a wide range of areas, including initial public offerings of companies.

The bill, scheduled for debate in parliament next week, has drawn stiff criticism from opposition politicians, who said it would allow the government to channel taxpayers' money into potentially risky investments.

The proposed investment panel comes as controversy dogs sovereign investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), chaired by Prime Minister and Finance Minister Najib Razak, which is struggling under US$11 billion (S$13.7 billion) in debt.

Under the proposed amendment to the Inland Revenue Board Act, the new panel would be made up of seven appointees, including the central bank governor, a finance ministry representative, and a chief executive officer. The chairman of the panel and at least three other members would be chosen by Mr Najib.

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