Abdul Karim: Rest assured, Sarawak’s candidate in IRB won’t be any Tom, Dick or Harry

Abdul Karim fields questions from reporters after the launch of AAEC 2022 at Tegas Digital Village in Samajaya High Tech Park today (July 12, 2022).

By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, July 12: The candidate named to represent Sarawak in the federal Inland Revenue Board (IRB) is still unrevealed pending the federal government’s response but rest assured, he is not any Tom, Dick or Harry.

Sarawak Minister for Tourism, Creative Industry and Performing Arts Dato Sri Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said the candidate proposed by the Sarawak government is definitely capable to sit on the IRB Board of Directors.

“Definitely he (candidate) must be somebody who has accounting or financial background. You cannot just put in any Tom, Dick and Harry who doesn’t know,” he told reporters when met after attending the launch of Asean-Australian Engineering Congress (AAEC) 2022 held at Tegas Digital Village in Samajaya High Tech Park today.

To date, Sarawak has submitted the name of its candidate to represent the State on the IRB Board of Directors and is awaiting the federal government’s response.

Abdul Karim noted that taxes collected from Sarawak will go to Ministry of Finance (MOF) and under Article 112D of the Federal Constitution, a certain amount will be returned to Sarawak in the form of an annual special grant.

He also noted that under the Inter-Governmental Committee (IGC) report in line with Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63), there is a provision which states that Sarawak must have representation in the IRB, which is of importance for Sarawak to be in the know of how much taxes are being collected in Sarawak and how much revenue the country generates.

“The problem is whenever we ask IRB how much taxes have been collected in Sarawak, they are not able to reveal it because this is (confidential).

“So with a representative from Sarawak in IRB, just like any board of directors’ meeting in a company where everything will be revealed to the members, we (Sarawak) would be able to be in the know (of) how much money has been collected through our representative,” he said.

He elaborated that having a representative in IRB will enable Sarawak to come up with a formula for discussion with the federal government with regards to the amount of the special grant for Sarawak as stipulated under Article 112D.

Abdul Karim also noted that the federal and Sabah governments have reached an agreement to increase the special grant for Sabah by 4.7-fold from RM26.7 million to RM125.6 million this year.

“It was a big number jump… Sabah is very happy but we (Sarawak) are not excited about it because we want to see the actual amount (of taxes) being collected.

“If the amount is small, then we will go for less than RM100 million. But if the amount is big, then we should be deserving to be given more than what Sabah is getting.

“It has been so long that the federal government has been ‘okay this is the amount for you’ (sic) and we just accept it. We cannot be working out (sic) that way. There must be some kind of formula,” he emphasised. — DayakDaily