Anwar calls for firm tax enforcement regardless of status

PRIME Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has urged the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) to enforce tax collection rigorously irrespective of individuals’ or companies’ positions. He noted the importance of ensuring that no entity evades tax obligations due to their influence.

During the 2024 LHDN Day event, Anwar stressed the need for sincerity and courage in tax enforcement, pointing out that wealth or status should not exempt anyone from fulfilling their tax responsibilities.

“We cannot give the impression that the wealthiest are exempt from action. There must be sincerity and courage from all of you, regardless of your connections and positions. Whether he is Ahmad or Ah Seng, Tan Sri or Tun, what matters is whether they pay taxes or not,” stated Anwar during an officiating speech on 2024 LHDN day.

The Finance Minister reflected on the history of LHDN’s transformation into a statutory body on March 1, 1996, acknowledging challenges faced in tax collection from large corporations and renowned entities.

“Some pay half, while others, due to their enormity, are like giants or dragons… who dares to challenge them?” he said.

Moreover, Anwar also addressed Malaysia’s low tax base claiming that it stands at 11.2% of GDP, lower than neighbouring countries like Singapore (12.6%) and Thailand (16.4%). He revealed that only a fraction of registered companies approximately 29% are paying taxes.

“The number of companies paying taxes is low, about 435,000 companies compared to 1.5 million registered companies in Malaysia, with less than 29% of registered companies paying taxes.

“As of Dec 31, 2023, the number of individual taxpayers was 5.7 million, with a collection of RM40.96 billion, and for companies, there were 539,113 taxpayers with a collection of RM98.77 bil,” he said.

Furthermore, the Tambun MP expressed concerns about the country’s deficit, warning of future repercussions if the issue is not addressed promptly.

Despite efforts to decrease it by 5%, the government continues to grapple with persistently high levels of debt and increasing deficits.

“Regardless of the amount of revenue we generate, the culture of extravagance and wastefulness persists. We are faced with leadership that persists in lavish spending, and we cannot maintain this system any longer,” he further added. – March 1, 2024



Main photo credit: Bernama

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