When tax laws are weapons of persecution

By Yana Najib

The government is hell-bent on going against my entire family.

I do not blame the people in LHDN as I know their hands are tied as there are politicians higher up that are the mastermind behind this.

Today, the government says I owe them RM10.3 million in taxes, penalties, penalties on top of penalties and interest based on my so-called “income” from the year 2011 to 2017.

Since last year when they started auditing me, I had long ago submitted all the proof including detailed bank transfer documents that show most of this so-called income from abroad were transfers from my husband’s family.

I also furnished proof showing that my in-laws purchased a home directly using their funds from abroad.

My husband’s family then listed me as joint-owner of the home.

Somehow, this act of listing me as joint owner with my husband is now considered by the government as my “income”!

And this forms the bulk of these “tax due” even though the payment for the house did not even go through me.

Although I do not want to say this, I have to so that the people understand my situation.

My husband and his family have been independently wealthy long before we met and even before my mother-in-law was married to one of Kazakhstan’s richest tycoon for ten years.

In any case, even if you consider payments from husband to wife as income, these transfers are from abroad and should not be taxed.

A smaller portion of this so-called income is also wang hantaran as well as gifts from family and friends.

At the age of 30 now and having spent many years studying and briefly working overseas, I have never operated any business in Malaysia and have never bid for nor received any government contracts of any sort.

And I have never had thought that my husband putting me as joint owner of the house and money that my husband gives me for household expenses can be considered income.

Just like in the case of my father and siblings who have been similarly hit on a ridiculous basis, many who know the details of the case are shocked and speechless at how blatant the government is abusing the laws.

It looks like in the new Malaysia:
1) Husband giving money to wife is now considered income and need to be taxed.
2) Money from foreign sources which has always been exempt from tax is now also taxed.
3) Husband buying a house and putting wife as joint-owner is also now considered as income for the wife and is taxed.
4) Hantaran, engagement and wedding gifts are also considered as income and now must be taxed.

All of these evidence will come out in court one day and the world will know how ridiculous these charges are. Inshallah, the truth will prevail.

Nooryana Najib is the daughter of the former Prime Minister of Malaysia and has just returned to the country after graduating with a Master’s degree from Harvard University.

The views expressed here are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of New Malaysia Herald.

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