Court refuses to freeze order for Najib to pay RM1.69b taxes, says all taxpayers treated equally

(MMO) – The High Court today dismissed Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s application to temporarily suspend a 2020 court order for him to pay RM1.69 billion in taxes and late payment penalties claimed by the government.

In a judgement delivered online today by email and sighted by the media, High Court judge Datuk Ahmad Bache dismissed the stay application by Najib and also required him to pay legal costs of RM15,000.

Among other things, the judge had said that Najib’s case did not fall under “special circumstances” that would justify the court granting a stay — which is a temporary suspension of enforcement or execution — of the RM1.69 billion summary judgement.

The judge had among other things also said that allowing a stay would have estopped or prevented the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia (IRB) from filing any actions under the law against Najib to seek recovery of the monies, and that this would then set a bad precedent for other taxpayers.

“As every taxpayer (like every citizen) stands equal before the law, and if this stay is granted to the defendant, who is a former prime minister and the former finance minister, the plaintiff will be estopped from filing any recovery actions against him.

“It will set a bad precedent to be followed and used by other taxpayers as a ground to avoid and/or delay paying taxes and giving rise, albeit wrongly, to an inference that ‘double standards’ are being allowed and being practised,” the judge said when listing factors that he had taken into account in arriving at his decision.

When contacted, Najib’s lawyer Muhammad Farhan Muhammad Shafee confirmed that the High Court had dismissed Najib’s stay application.