PETALING JAYA – A message apparently written by businessman Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew, who is fighting a battle with the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) has gone viral.
In the message, Lee expresses his frustration fighting the IRB and alleged that he was being investigated under criminal laws instead of civil action, prompting him to liquidate his assets to settle the income tax bill.
When contacted, Lee said the message was a personal letter to his friends and not for public consumption. He then replied that he would call for a press conference at an appropriate time.
He said that in January this year he had appointed PKF to liquidate or divest all his personal assets and companies.
“The purpose of the liquidation and divestment is to firstly settle all my companies’ income tax with IRB in a peaceful and most efficient manner. In addition to PKF, I have also appointed Lee Hishammuddin to represent me, to deal with IRB,” he wrote in the posting.
Lee described the use of AMLA (Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorism Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act) to investigate his tax was a humiliation to him and pointed that he had no personal tax liability.
“I would like all my friends to know that I don’t have any personal tax liability. In fact, I have a surplus tax credit with IRB,” he said.
He added that his instructions were that taxes must be paid. “As a businessman this is what I must do, and I believe many other businessmen will do the same.”
“My view on IRB is simple, I believe that paying taxes is a civic duty and I don’t mind to pay tax, even if it’s not my own. I believe I have demonstrated this through helping the public company settle RM20mil in taxes since I took over as executive chairman of Country Heights Holdings Bhd (CHHB),” Lee said.
On Tuesday, CHHB announced that the IRB has seized Lee’s fixed deposits placed with a foreign-owned bank amounting to RM126mil. Lee understood that it was in relation to a tax liability of CHHB’s wholly owned subsidiary, Country Heights Sdn Bhd (CHSB).
CHHB said that the total tax liabilities of CHSB for the years of assessment 1997 and 1998 amounted to RM22.5mil.