Najib served with bankruptcy notice over RM1.7bil in unpaid taxes

The government filed a bankruptcy notice against former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak for failing to pay income tax amounting to RM1.69bil as ruled by the High Court in July last year. According to documents filed in court, the Government through the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) filed the notice in the High Court on Feb 4 against Najib as a debtor. Based on the notice, Najib has to pay RM1.69 billion with a 5% interest rate per annum on the total balance from July 22, 2020 (date of High Court’s decision) to Feb 4, 2021, and the total payable amount as of the latter date is RM1,738,804,204.16. On July 22 last year, the High Court ruled that Najib had to pay the LHDN RM1.69bil in additional tax and penalties for the period from 2011 to 2017, after allowing the LHDN’s application to enter a summary judgment against the former. Najib has filed an appeal against the High Court’s decision in the Court of Appeal, which will hear the case on June 16. Pursuant to Section 103 (2) of the Income Tax Act 1967, a person ordered to pay the assessment has to settle the payment to the LHDN even if an appeal has been filed. (The Star)

WHO says AstraZeneca benefits outweigh risks

The World Health Organization expects there will be no reason to change its assessment that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 outweigh any risks, its regulatory director said on Tuesday. The WHO is closely studying the latest data alongside European and other regulators, in light of reports of blood clots among people who have been vaccinated. A senior official at the European Medical Agency (EMA) has said there is a clear “association” between AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine and very rare blood clots in the brain, though the direct cause of the clots is still unknown. However, “the benefits-risk assessment for the vaccine is still largely positive,” said Rogerio Gaspar, WHO director of regulation and prequalification. Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said Malaysia will proceed with using the AstraZeneca vaccine after deciding that the benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the negatives. (The Star)

E-wallet to be mandatory for Putrajaya market traders to renew licence

All farmers and public market traders in Putrajaya must provide a cashless payment facility as a condition for the renewal of their business licence, says deputy domestic trade and consumer affairs minister Rosol Wahid. Rosol said Putrajaya Corporation (PPj) would make it a requirement in the near future in an effort to prepare retail sector players for the expanded use of cashless payment systems in business. He said the move was part of the first phase of the Retail Digitalisation Initiative (ReDI) framework involving Putrajaya with the second phase going nationwide in May. ReDI is a collaboration between the ministry and various government and private agencies. These include the federal territories ministry, housing and local government ministry, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) as well as Maybank and Touch n’ Go. (FMT)

Singapore to accept COVID-19 digital travel pass from next month

Singapore will next month accept visitors who use a mobile travel pass containing digital certificates for COVID-19 tests and vaccines, its aviation regulator said on Monday, becoming one of the first countries to adopt the initiative. Singapore will accept the International Air Transport Association (IATA) mobile travel pass for pre-departure checks, where travelers can get clearance to fly to and enter Singapore by showing a smartphone application containing their data from accredited laboratories. The pass was successfully tested by Singapore Airlines. More than 20 carriers, including Emirates, Qatar Airways and Malaysia Airlines, are also testing the pass. Airlines are hoping more countries will approve digital passes on apps to allow travel to resume faster and avoid complications and delays at airports where multiple checks on documents are required. Currently, travelers from most countries are required to take pre-departure COVID-19 swab tests within 72 hours of their flights in order to travel to Singapore, with results presented at airport check-in and on arrival. (The Star)

Malaysia not categorised as climate vulnerable country, says minister

Malaysia was not invited to the Leaders’ Summit on Climate in the United States on April 22 and April 23, as it not categorised as a country vulnerable to climate change. Environment and Water Minister Datuk Seri Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said the main objective of the conference is to encourage large economies that collectively contribute 80% of greenhouse gases, to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. He said there are many countries that stood out in the climate change agenda, such as Sweden, Switzerland and Thailand, that were also not invited to attend the conference. “This needs to be seen separately from the recent issue on the importation of plastic waste into Malaysia from the US,” he said. Earlier, the media reported that Malaysia was not on the list of 40 countries invited to the conference following allegations that the country is now often seen as a dumping ground for plastic waste. (The Edge)