Najib served with bankruptcy notice over $568m tax bill

Malaysia’s former premier Najib Razak arriving in court yesterday to begin an appeal against his conviction on corruption charges.
Malaysia’s former premier Najib Razak arriving in court yesterday to begin an appeal against his conviction on corruption charges. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

KUALA LUMPUR • Malaysia's former prime minister Najib Razak said he has been served with a bankruptcy notice by the Inland Revenue Board for failing to pay a tax bill totalling RM1.74 billion (S$568 million).

He said the "tyrannical" tax imposed on him has no merit and he has asked his lawyer to obtain a stay order, according to his Facebook post late on Tuesday.

"I will use all my capabilities to come up with the best appeal alongside my lawyers, to help the wise judges make a decision that is based on truth."

Najib said the case relates to RM3 billion put in an account under his name that was used to receive donations for corporate social responsibilities and political purposes. The bankruptcy notice came as he began his appeal against his conviction last year on charges in a case involving millions he received from a former unit of troubled state fund 1MDB.

Malaysia's court ruled last year that Najib must pay RM1.69 billion in taxes, a bill he has disputed.

"Perhaps the act of giving me a bankruptcy notice on the first day my case appeal was heard was intended to sprinkle salt on the still-bleeding wounds of injustice or to further embarrass me," Najib said.

Being a bankrupt would mean he would lose his parliamentary seat and will be ineligible to contest in party polls and national elections, he said.

He added that he would also stand to lose all of his savings collected while he was serving in the government and he will no longer have money to pay lawyer fees.

He also claimed he will not get back his belongings and money seized by the government even if he were to win the case.

Najib has been a vocal critic of the current government despite his party, the United Malays National Organisation (Umno), being part of the ruling administration. Umno has said it will end its current ties with Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin once the next general election is called.

Umno unexpectedly returned to power in March last year after Tan Sri Muhyiddin secured a razor-thin majority following the abrupt resignation of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

BLOOMBERG, THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 08, 2021, with the headline 'Najib served with bankruptcy notice over $568m tax bill'. Subscribe