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Friday, August 11, 2017

IRB probe on Mahathir’s family not political, says Johari

Second Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani also challenges those who accuse the Inland Revenue Board of selective investigation, to prove their allegations.
KOTA KINABALU: Second Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani has denied that the Inland Revenue Board’s (IRB) investigation of the family businesses of former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamed is politically motivated.
He also challenged those who accused the IRB of such an inclination to prove it.
Earlier, a source close to Mahathir’s family told FMT that IRB officials had raided the offices of the companies owned by Mahathir’s three sons on Tuesday.
Following the raid, members of Mahathir’s family and the opposition criticised the move, saying the IRB had exercised selective investigation.
“The IRB is an independent agency and it’s free of the influence of political parties,” Johari told reporters after attending a dinner talk on the Malaysian economy organised by the Society Empowerment and Economic Development of Sabah and the Faculty of Business, Economics and Accountancy of Universiti Malaysia Sabah here yesterday.
“It investigates everyone, and as long as it has complete information, it will conduct the investigation. Nobody can dictate to the IRB who to investigate. If someone hasn’t done anything wrong, then he has nothing to worry about.
“It’s not something the IRB started doing only today. It has investigated many big companies, industries and warehouses every year. It has its own programmes and processes.”
Johari said even government-linked companies had been investigated by the tax authority.
“Even companies owned by the government and big companies at the bourse have been investigated,” he said. “I don’t remember their names and I cannot mention them or their share prices will go down. Tax is a sensitive matter.”
“So this is not related to politics. The IRB has its own board of directors. I don’t think they are also involved in politics. I and other politicians don’t sit on the board.
“If I’m myself under investigation and I haven’t done anything wrong, it shouldn’t be a concern to me. Nobody can tell the IRB what to do unless you can prove that it wants to get involved in politics.”
Following the raids, Dr Mahathir, who is chairman of opposition party PPBM and the coalition of Pakatan Harapan, said the prime minister, defence minister as well as their families should also be subject to investigations.
Dr Mahathir’s lawyer Haniff Khatri questioned the timing of the raids which took place on the same day as the commencement of the Royal Commission of Inquiry on the multi-billion ringgit losses by Bank Negara Malaysia in the 1980s and 1990s when Dr Mahathir was prime minister. - FMT

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