Why raise Yayasan Al-Bukhary tax exemption now when you had 33 months to do so after Pakatan fell, Guan Eng asks Muhyiddin
Lim Guan Eng has questioned the timing of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s move to raise the issue of the alleged discontinuation of Yayasan Al-Bukhary’s tax exemption status, as the latter had remained silent when both men were part of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Cabinet.
(MMO) – Lim Guan Eng has questioned the timing of Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s move to raise the issue of the alleged discontinuation of Yayasan Al-Bukhary’s tax exemption status, as the latter had remained silent when both men were part of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s Cabinet.
He said this in his reply to Muhyiddin’s defence statement sighted by Malay Mail which was filed in court on May 5 over a defamation suit filed by the former against the latter in March over the alleged cancellation of the tax exemption status during Lim’s tenure as finance minister.
Lim said Muhyiddin was the home minister during the Pakatan Harapan administration, and in the 33 months after the administration collapsed, he could have disclosed the alleged revocation, yet only chose to raise the matter now when he was charged with corruption in court.
“The defendant was minister of home affairs after the 14th general election under the Pakatan Harapan government.
“The fact that the defendant did not even raise any issue relating to the alleged revocation of tax exemption to Yayasan Al-Bukhary earlier but raising the said issue now when the defendant was facing criminal charges is nothing more than a political stunt.
“If the plaintiff was indeed the person who cancelled the tax exemption to Yayasan Al-Bukhary, the defendant had more than 33 months after the fall of the Pakatan Harapan government to reveal the alleged wrongdoing,” Lim said.
Lim further said it was a desperate attempt by Muhyiddin to distract public attention from the latter’s criminal charges and criminal culpability by pinning the blame on him.
Lim also cited a March 21 parliamentary reply issued by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim where the Dewan Rakyat was informed that the tax exemption status was not revoked as claimed, and thus, untrue.
Similarly, Lim also cited a Finance Ministry statement issued on March 23 further affirming neither Lim nor its officers had issued the revocation.
Lim said Muhyiddin was given several opportunities to prove the alleged claim as true with cogent proof but failed in doing so.
“Being a former prime minister of Malaysia does not confer the defendant with any right to defame the plaintiff when the defendant ought to have known the words complained of were absolutely false and devoid of semblance of truth,” he said.
In the ongoing lawsuit filed on March 27, Lim had alleged Muhyiddin made defamatory statements against him on March 9 and March 11 on the former prime minister’s Facebook account as well as his remarks on March 12 to the media.
In the court documents sighted by Malay Mail, Lim wants Muhyiddin to retract his statement, remove all those statements from his social media accounts, and make a public apology to him for those comments.
The former finance minister also wants the court to issue an injunction on Muhyiddin or his team barring them from making further comments on the matter.
Muhyiddin’s remarks had alleged that Lim had back then as the finance minister been involved in the previous Pakatan Harapan government’s purported cancellation of the tax exemption status for charitable organisation Yayasan Albukhary, which was said to carry out work helping Muslims.
Lim disputes Muhyiddin’s allegations as untrue.
Lim said the statements, in their natural and ordinary meaning, were meant to show that he had abused his position and power by authorising the imposition of taxes and penalties on a welfare foundation.
He said they were also meant to depict him as being racist, anti-Malay, anti-Islam and a vindictive person, and that he had acted in bad faith.