Finance Act 2016

For all intent and purpose, the FA 2016 is an Act to implement the policies stated in the Budget 2017. The FA 2016 is a consequential act of Budget 2017 and is part and parcel of Budget 2017.

The title of FA 2016 is:
“ An Act to amend the Income Tax Act 1967, the Petroleum (Income Tax) Act 1967, the Real Property Gains Tax Act 1976, the Labuan Business Activity Tax Act 1990 and the Goods and Services Tax Act 2014.”
The content of FA 2016 is to amend all those Acts stated therein so as to carry out the policies of the Budget 2017.

Every year, after the passing of the Budget, a Finance Act will follow suit, e.g. Finance Act 2015 was tabled and passed the day after the passing of Budget 2016, Finance Act 2014 was tabled and passed the day after the passing of Budget 2015.

The whole of the Budget 2017 was put to vote in Parliament on 22-11-2016 at 11:00 p.m. at night, with 73 Opposition Member of Parliament opposing the Budget, 105 BN Members of Parliament supporting the Budget and 1 MP abstaining. 

Therefore, when the FA 2016 was tabled on 23-11-2016 (the next day) to carry out and implement the policies of Budget 2017, there was no necessity to re-state our position of objecting to it when we have the previous night objected to the whole of the Budget 2017.

In fact, before the calling for vote on Budget 2017 on 22-11-2016, there were calls of vote on the allocation for each and every Ministry, the Opposition did not call for counting of every vote to record our objection to each and every Ministry. That is not taken to mean that w the Opposition have agreed to the funding allocated to the respective Ministries.

The Pakatan Harapan has objected in toto the Budget 2017 and that includes the FA 2016.

It was the Barisan Nasional that proposed, supported and passed the Budget 2017 and to carry out the policies and projects in Budget 2017, the Inland Revenue Board has planned to tax religious organisations on their incomes. 

This is another reminder to the people that when BN leaders talks about projects, the funding comes from the PEOPLE. Previously, it was from individuals, companies and businesses. Now, the BN Government has extended its tantacles to cover religious organisations.

As Jesus has said in the Bible, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, to God what is God’s”. The present BN Government is now so desperate for money that even revenue to do God’s work is now not spared from the taxes of the BN Government.

Had some of the BN MPs had some conscience and not supported blindly the Budget 2017, then FA 2016 would not be tabled and the Government will not be in need of the tax revenue from the religious organisations. 

What angers us more is that despite taxing more from people, corruption and wastages continues and all of us pay our taxes with the knowledge that for every single Ringgit of tax we pay, at least 30 sen will go into the pockets of the BN cronies.

To expect Adenan to go against the wishes of Najib and stop the Inland Revenue Board in Sarawak from collecting taxes from the churches and other religious organisations is to ask for the stars so long as Adenan and Sarawak BN remain in the UMNO’s BN. 

Had Adenan dared to go against Najib’s wishes, he would have exercised his power to stop the collection of GST in Sarawak. Sales Tax is clearly within the power of the State, yet, Adenan refused to act against the BN policies of Najib and UMNO.

Therefore, now that Adenan has repeatedly pledged his support for Najib and UMNO-controlled BN, the only way for religious organisations not to pay the taxes is through a change of Government in the coming elections which will likely be held in 2017. It is only with a new Government that practise clean, accountability and transparency governance that religious organisations can be spared from paying taxes.

Chong Chieng Jen
MP for Bandar Kuching / ADUN for Kota Sentosa
DAP Sarawak Chairman