Friday, March 28, 2008


Harris demands apology, compensation from IRB
Board has allegedly published defamatory statements on ex-CM


Former Chief Minister Datuk Harris Mohd Salleh has demanded for a public apology and compensation from the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) for allegedly publishing defamatory statements relating to the disposal of his property in Labuan. A letter containing the demand for an apology and compensation from the IRB was made through his solicitors, Messers Maringking & Co, two days ago to the Board. Senior lawyer Yunof Maringking, a senior partner from the legal firm, has confirmed that they were acting for Harris and had written to IRB, demanding for a public apology and compensation from the Board. Harris has also given a standing instruction to institute legal action against the IRB for alleged negligence and defamation, he said when contacted yesterday. It is reliably learnt that Harris, who was the Chief Minister of Sabah during the Berjaya Government from 1976 to 1985, is asking for RM10 million compensation from the IRB. The IRB has allegedly issued an order through the Kota Kinabalu IRB office early this year, barring Harris from leaving the country until he has paid a sum of RM419,715.62 in Real Property Gains Tax to the Board. A certificate dated Feb 22, 2008 purportedly signed by the Kota Kinabalu IRB Principal Assistant Director (Collection) Shahril Jalinus had been issued under Section 22(1) of the Real Property Gains Tax Act, 1976 to compel Harris to fully settle the amount or furnish security to the satisfaction of the Director—General. Copies of the certificate and ban letters had been extended to the Inspector- General of Police and Immigration Director-General requesting them to take necessary action to prevent Harris from leaving the country unless he has settled the tax arrears. On Wednesday, Harris said he had been served with the ban letters both in Bahasa Malaysia and English and described the whole matter as a mistake on the part of the authorities which bordered on malice or was politically-motivated. He said the matter had been referred to his lawyers and instructed them to convey his demand for a public apology and appropriate compensation from the IRB. Harris clarified that he vas not liable to pay the Real Property Gains Tax and the IRB had issued him a letter in 2005 stating that the land involved in the transaction was not subjected to tax. It was stated that the letter of demand for apology and compensation from the IRB that submission of forms with all relevant particulars for tax assessment on the disposal of Harris’ property in Labuan was done professionally through a firm of accountant. In fact one officer from the IRB branch in KualaLumpur had expressly confirmed in a letter dated Oct 24, 2005 that the disposal of the said property is not subject to any tax under the Property Gains Tax.