TWICE former premier Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad has expressed surprise at the manner UMNO supreme council member Datuk Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi accused him of manipulating the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) in the case of now incarcerated premier Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his son being made to settle RM1.71 bil in unpaid taxes.
First and foremost, the elderly statesman wondered if the staunch supporter of Najib and Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi understood the legal process.
“The Attorney-General (AG) must give his mark of approval before any case involving the government can be brought to court,” penned Dr Mahathir in his Facebook page.
“If the AG Chambers (AGC) feels that the case does not have a solid foundation, then it will not be brought to court. So, when it (the said case) is brought to court, it means that the AG feels there is sufficient basis.”
Secondly, Dr Mahathir who was the fourth and seventh Malaysian prime minister (PM) noted that when a case is brought to court, the presiding judge will make an assessment based on the evidence exhibited and the witnesses who were called to testify.
“If there are no authentic and strong witnesses and evidence, then the judge and the court will throw out the case,” contended Dr Mahathir who is two years away from clocking a century old.
It is against such backdrop that the country’s highest court, the Federal Court, had on yesterday (Oct 16) rejected the appeal by Najib and his son Datuk Mohd Nazifuddin to overturn their unpaid tax case.
Eventually, the five-judge panel had unanimously rejected the duo’s appeal to cancel the IRB tax suit amounting to RM1.7 bil.
“If the IRB has been manipulated by me, why didn’t Najib’s lawyer show such evidence in court in front of the judges?” asked Dr Mahathir. “Does Puad Zarkashi think that the judges do not know how to evaluate the exhibited evidence or the witnesses who were called to testify in the court?”
Besides, if the Johor state assembly speaker has evidence that IRB has been manipulated by him, Dr Mahathir suggested that Puad should have furnished such evidence to Najib’s defence team while offering himself as a defence witness.
“But he chose not to do so. Instead, he just resorted to making noises outside the court and let Najib faced the lawsuit and eventually lost his case,” quipped Dr Mahathir. – Oct 17, 2023