PKR would like to alert the public that the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) amendments is definitely to be tabled again in this coming session of Parliament. In fact, it is scheduled for the first day of Parliament on Oct 7.
Earlier in June 2014, the finance minister tabled an amendment to the IRB Act 1995, with the intention to create an Investment Panel in the IRB with the potential to invest an unlimited amount of money in equities, debt and properties.
Historically, the Inland Revenue Board Fund is relatively small at approximately RM250 million and the investment that they can pursue is limited to fixed deposits in recognised banks. The bill proposed in June gives the finance minister unfettered powers and raises legitimate fears that he will dip into roughly RM140 billion a year in tax collection.
Since the ministry retracted the legislation in June, we have not seen the newly-drafted amendment to be tabled next week.
For such an important legislation, this is completely unbecoming of the government in terms of governance and the practice of parliamentary democracy.
Three weeks ago, I wrote a letter to the finance minister asking for an advance copy of the amendment. It took them 14 days to respond, only to pass the buck to another department in the ministry. We only found out that the amendment is to be tabled again when we received the Order of Proceedings for the October session of Parliament on Tuesday evening.
We are vehemently opposed to the legislation if the government continues to propose an Investment Panel with access to unlimited funds.
We urge all Members of Parliament to be extra vigilant on this legislation and we demand that Najib Abdul Razak, as Finance Minister, release the draft legislation to the public immediately to enable proper study, consideration and debate on this matter.
YB WONG CHEN is PKR MP for Kelana Jaya.