Jelutong MP ordered out of Dewan Rakyat after terse exchange with finance minister over Najib’s IRB blacklist status

Jelutong MP RSN Rayer speaks during the Debate on Budget 2022 at the Committee Stage at the Dewan Rakyat, November 24, 2021. — Bernama pic
Jelutong MP RSN Rayer speaks during the Debate on Budget 2022 at the Committee Stage at the Dewan Rakyat, November 24, 2021. — Bernama pic

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KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 24 — For his insistence in asking why Datuk Seri Najib Razak was given special dispensation to travel overseas despite not having settled more than RM1.69 billion in tax arrears, Jelutong MP RSN Rayer was ejected out of the Dewan Rakyat for disrupting proceedings today.

During the Debate on Budget 2022 at the Committee Stage, Rayer had asked Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz why Najib has yet to be blacklisted by the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) and allowed to travel to Singapore despite the outstanding tax arrears owed to the government.

“Why is YB Pekan given special treatment and not blacklisted? This is not about the issue of court.

“We are blacklisted if we don’t pay our taxes. My question is why is he given special treatment? That is my question since some RM1.7 billion in tax is still unpaid,” Rayer asked.

Tengku Zafrul in response briefly said it was a decision made by the court, but Rayer interjected and said this was not the case.

“This is not the court’s decision, Yang Berhormat. If one does not pay their taxes, they are automatically blacklisted. The issue on the court’s decision is a different matter, but when one does not pay their taxes, they should have been blacklisted,” Rayer added.

Baling MP Datuk Seri Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim then interrupted Rayer, highlighting that Najib’s passport was still in the court’s custody and that the IRB’s assessment could still be challenged.

This prompted Rayer to ask why Abdul Azeez was answering on behalf of the Finance Ministry and subsequently urged Tengku Zafrul to provide a response.

“I am asking this question on behalf of taxpayers. All taxpayers know that we will be blacklisted automatically if we do not pay our taxes so why is YB Pekan given special treatment?” Rayer questioned, before Deputy Speaker Datuk Mohd Rashid Hasnon called for order in the House by switching off the microphones.

Tengku Zafrul then attempted to offer an explanation to Rayer, maintaining that this was the court’s decision, and therefore, the IRB was unable to blacklist Najib at this moment.

To which Rayer asked the minister whether he was afraid to answer because of a possible deal struck with fellow party man and Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

“I have the right to ask this,” Rayer insisted.

Mohd Rashid then issued a warning to Rayer to remain silent so House proceedings could resume or face temporary expulsion.

Refusing to comply, Rayer persisted with his line of questioning before Mohd Rashid ordered him to be escorted out of the Lower House for 20 minutes with the assistance of the Sergeant-at-Arms.

Najib had filed a notice of motion to the Federal Court seeking leave to appeal against the decision of the Court of Appeal dismissing their appeal to set aside the High Court’s decision on the payment of the tax.

On September 9, the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s decision allowing the IRB’s application for a direct judgment to claim tax arrears of RM1.69 billion from Najib and RM37.6 million from his son Datuk Mohd Nazifuddin.

Direct judgment is when the court decides a particular case through an argument without hearing the testimony of witnesses at the trial.

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