KUALA LUMPUR • The Kuala Lumpur High Court yesterday ordered former Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak to settle RM1.69 billion (S$555 million) in unpaid taxes accumulated over seven years while he was still in office.
High Court Judge Ahmad Bache said in his summary judgment that former premiers are not exempted from paying tax and that Najib must pay his “debt” to the government, according to national news agency Bernama.
A summary judgment is when a court makes its decision without going to a full trial.
“This court holds that a summary judgment is entered against the defendant for the amount claimed by the plaintiff as in the plaintiff’s statement of claims, that is, RM1,692,872,924.83 with cost,” said the judge.
The court also fixed RM15,000 in costs.
The government, through the Inland Revenue Board (IRB), filed the suit in June last year to recover unpaid taxes between 2011 and 2017 totalling RM1,692,872,924.83 from Najib, plus penalties and interest.
The next month, Najib filed an application to stay the proceedings of the main suit pending an appeal on the tax assessment to the IRB, but it was dismissed, resulting in a hearing of submission for summary judgment.
Najib is also facing several corruption trials linked to state investment fund 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).
The first trial, related to funds misappropriated from SRC International, a former subsidiary of 1MDB, closed early last month, with the verdict set for next Tuesday.
The 1MDB scandal has sparked global investigations into corruption and money laundering, with prosecutors estimating US$4.5 billion (S$6.2 billion) was siphoned from the Malaysian investment fund. Najib has has denied all wrongdoing.
Najib was ousted as premier in the 2018 election that saw Malaysians rallying over the 1MDB scandal and the high cost of living. That led to the country’s first change of government since its independence and a crackdown against those involved in the 1MDB case.
Najib’s Umno party unexpectedly returned to power in a coalition led by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin nearly five months ago, although Najib no longer leads the party.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, REUTERS