Archive for March 25th, 2007

IRD should not harass or bar defaulters from bona fide foreign trips

tax defaulters barred from leaving

The Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, in his capacity as Finance Minister should direct the Inland Revenue Board to stop invoking Income Tax Act Section 104 barring Malaysians from leaving the country for failing to pay income tax for business, tours and holidays when they have every intention of returning and not absconding from the country, and to seek the advice of the Attorney-General.

In her interview with New Sunday Times, the Chief Executive Officer and Director-General of Inland Revenue Board, Hasmah Abdullah advised 39,867 people who had been blacklisted as tax defaulters that they are barred from leaving the country for failing to pay income tax.

Holiday-makers who bought tickets at the recent Matta fair to go overseas are advised to visit the Inland Revenue Board before they board the plane.

This is most ludicrous and smacks of harassment and even blackmail — something which should not be associated with the public service.

Hasmah pointed out that under Section 104 of Income Tax 1967 (see below), individuals — locals or foreigners — would not be allowed to leave the country if they had not settled their income tax.

I believe that when Parliament passed Section 104 of Income Tax Act 1967 forty years ago, the intention was to prevent individuals, whether locals or foreigners, from evading income tax by absconding from the country — rather than to restrict their business or spoil their holidays plan.

I do not believe Parliament ever intended to prevent Malaysians with income tax problems from going to Singapore, Thailand or other overseas country whether for holidays or business. Read the rest of this entry »


Ambulances run out of petrol – Yusnita Abas another avoidable death

Ambulances Run Out of Petrol

With the latest scandal of ambulances running out of petrol resulting in another avoidable death, the Health Minister, Datuk Dr. Chua Soi Lek should inform Parliament tomorrow what shake-up he had initiated to end the mounting public criticism of outrageous ambulance emergency services and response time to give top priority to saving lives.

Friday’s New Straits Times reported the scandal-cum-tragedy of Yusnita Abas, 31, wife of a factory worker, Ghafur Mohd Ibrahim who said his wife would be alive today had she received prompt medical treatment, including efficient ambulance service.

Although on the fateful day, she went to the Kepala Batas Hospital at 1 pm after being advised by a private doctor, she was not attended to until she lapsed into a semi-consciousness state around 6 pm.

Doctors later realized that Yusnita was suffering from a ruptured blood vessel and ordered that she undergo a CT scan at the Seberang Jaya Hospital. Ghafur was told that that Yusnita would have to undergo emergency surgery at the Penang Hospital if the CT scan showed there was a blood clot in her brain.

This is Ghafur’s harrowing tale: Read the rest of this entry »


Winning back FDIs – fundamental policy changes needed and not merely incentives

Winning back FDIs

Winning back FDIs
by Dr. Chen Man Hin

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi announced a bouquet of incentives to induce foreign investors to put their money in Johore’s Iskandar Development Region (IDR). Undeniably the incentives are attractive.

While the development of IDR is important and should be encouraged, it is vital to realise that foreign investments are needed badly for the country as a whole. Therefore, the incentives for IDR should logically be implemented for the whole country.

Malaysia unfortunately is bypassed by foreign investors and is low in their choice to park their money. It is definitely not on the radar of foreign investors, contrary to the claim of the Minister for International Trade, Datuk Paduka Rafidah Aziz.

UNCTAD report on FDI shows that Malaysia has much lower FDIs than many other countries in ASEAN – Read the rest of this entry »


RM70 million for AVSS to collect traffic fines from Singaporeans – 24 years to recoup if system can last that long

RM70 million for AVSS to collect traffic fines from Singaporeans

A news report in last week’s New Sunday Times (18.3.07) caught the attention of an eagle-eyed reader, Tan Poh Soon, who has emailed about how ridiculous it was to spend RM70 million to instal a system to collect traffic fines from Singaporeans, which will take some 24 years to recoup the cost if the system could last that long:

While reading a news regarding Singaporean motorists paid a total of RM8 million in Malaysia traffic fines over the past three years, i noticed that it is also mentioned that the outstanding summon are being track down with a system known as Automated Vehicle Screening System.

According to the news, there are currently 24 unit of such system, where each unit cost RM2.9 million. The news also reported that the relevant department will add more of such unit at various places.

I’m wondering what is the rationale of installing such system which is so much expensive. Even if the system are able to track down RM8 million of unpaid summons every 3 years. It will still need at least 24 years to recoup the investment.

Do take note that this does not include the opportunity cost, interest and maintenance cost. Furthermore, i doubt that such system will be able to last 24 years. Read the rest of this entry »