No need to declare jewellery bought personally from overseas, says deputy minister

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ir Amiruddin Hamzah delivers a speech July 26, 2018. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri
Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ir Amiruddin Hamzah delivers a speech July 26, 2018. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 — Those who personally purchase jewellery from overseas need not declare the items to the Customs Department, deputy finance minister Datuk Amiruddin Hamzah said today.

In his winding-up speech on the Excise (Amendment) Bill 2019, Amiruddin said that only jewellery which are imported through cargo shipments has to be declared.

“For your information, generally, generally, customs duty or excise duty is not imposed on jewellery.

“Therefore, when the jewellery is brought into Malaysia, there is no need for them to declare it in the Customs form, if it is brought personally by the passenger, especially if it’s in their baggage.

“So that is not needed, unless it is imported through cargo. Declaration has to be done for that one,” the Kubang Pasu MP said.

Amirudin was responding to several questions previously raised by Bukit Bendera MP Wong Hon Wai, who asked to know if a “Datin Seri” had declared the jewellery brought in by a Lebanese jeweller into the country.

Wong had asked the Finance Ministry for a response to the matter.

“With regards to the high profile case that Bukit Bendera mentioned, I think it was already answered by the Finance Minister last year, that it was brought in by an agent. Agent declared and brought it in, then there was a declaration of the same thing being brought out.

“So there was no purchasing after it was brought in by the agent,” Amirudin added.

While no names were mentioned, the reference made by Wong and Amirudin appeared to allude to the jewellery sent to Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor by a Lebanese jeweller that purportedly cost RM59.8 million.

Last July, Rosmah’s lawyers Datuk K. Kumaraendran and Datuk Geethan Ram Vincent denied claims that the jewellery were purchased with “stolen” money, stressing that it was for a mere viewing.

Beirut-based Global Royalty Trading SAL sued Rosmah, wife of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, for the return of 44 loaned pieces of jewellery said to cost at least US$14.79 million (RM59.831 million) on June 26.

The case supports Najib’s previous statements that some of the jewellery seized in May by police investigating state investment firm 1Malaysia Development Berhad’s (1MDB) alleged financial improprieties belonged to third parties.

In February this year, the High Court ruled that the Lebanese jeweller’s lawsuit against Rosmah may proceed, once the police confirm they have the 44 disputed pieces of jewellery in their possession.

According to her lawyers, the court did not grant a stay of suit they had sought during today’s hearing.

Rosmah previously argued that she was not liable for the items, claiming as they were now in the custody of the police as part of their raids on residences linked to her husband.