Paying your income taxes, a shared responsibility
Nothing is certain but death and taxes
By Jude Toyat
Datuk Aznil Nawawi, the vivacious tv host behind talk show ‘Macam-Macam Aznil’ and talent show ‘Akademi Fantasia’ seems like the unlikeliest person to talk about income taxes, but on October 7, students and members of the public were treated to a two-hour talk on the issue at Technology College Sarawak (TCS).
Launched by the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia (IRBM), the talk is part of its ‘Saya Cinta Malaysia’ campaign that kicked off in March this year as a new approach to creating income tax awareness.
According to IRBM corporate communications and multimedia division director Muhamad Mustafa Said, the event aims to create awareness and educate the community on the importance of paying up your income tax.
“It also intends to remind the public that the beauty of living in Malaysia is a shared responsibility,” he said.
Some 600 members of the public, including students from SMK Sri Matang, SMK Matang Hilir, SMK Agama Matang No. 2, students and staff of TCS attended.
He pointed out that Aznil, better known as Pak Nil, was selected as the campaign ambassador because of his ability to engage with various age groups.
“We know that Pak Nil has always been regarded as renowned celebrity in the country, so we use that popularity and the space available seeing that he has many followers among the younger generation. That is the reason we appointed him to be our ambassador to speak in a more relaxed context regarding the payment of taxes,” he said.
Due to the campaign’s target audience consisting of primary, secondary, college and university students, when asked about whether university students also had to pay taxes and what kind of taxes they had to pay, he replied, “As long as you have income, you will have to pay your taxes regardless of whether you are a student or not.”
When it comes to paying taxes, tax evasion is one of the biggest issues the revenue board has to deal with. When asked what the biggest misconception about paying taxes was, he answered that there was no misconception. “People just tend to refuse and prefer to stay in denial rather than pay their income tax.
“There are always people who refuse to pay their income tax and bear in mind that these are the kind of people that we will give a good whack with the force of the law,” he said, adding that the campaign has received positive feedback especially among the younger generation.
An issue that commonly pops up among taxpayers is accountability. On how the government used the tax money and how they would know how their tax money was being spent, he said that there was a budget report on the amount being collected that will go directly to the government.
“IRBM never keeps the money. At the end of this October, in the coming budget, people will know where the money came from and where it went.
The ‘Saya Cinta Malaysia’ campaign has also travelled to several locations in Peninsular Malaysia before heading to Kuching.
As for Aznil, 53, his new responsibility as the campaign ambassador will take him on various roadshows to schools, private and public colleges and higher learning institutions educating current and future taxpayers.
Aznil added, “I just hope that people here in Malaysia will know that we have a responsibility to develop the country together, and this is one of my ways to give back to my beloved country that has always been supporting me throughout my 25-year involvement in the entertainment industry up to now.”
He also hoped that the campaign would foster the habit of sharing among Malaysians.
“We have an obligation to share what we have earned with the people of the country. Surely we want to see Malaysia develop and it is our responsibility to make the most of our income in the form of taxes to be distributed to the needy, and our future generations,” he added.
On his latest development, Aznil added that he has just ended his contract with Astro on September 30.
“I am still reconsidering continuing the contract as I am also in the middle of producing a new programme that will be aired soon,” he said. He is also Astro’s talent development division vice-president.
Also attending the event were IRBM state director of Sarawak Ramlot Keli, TCS College executive director Joycelynn Kho Fei Fei and officers from IRBM.