|Sir Hii Yii Ann (right) and estranged wife, Lady Dr Beh Soo Hian (left)|
This sort of issue resembling neo-colonisation would have annoyed Tun Dr Mahathir.
More so, it involves Australia, in which he had a famous row with then Australian PM, Paul Keating calling him recalcitrant.
Mahathir is obsessed to finish off Dato Najib that his focus will not get diverted by other issues.
For a fact, he is collaborating with neo-colonisation agents in the form of George Soros, Rupert Murdoch and foreign hands behind Bersih demonstration. In London recently, he ran down Najib in the presence of foreign press.
He is so focused that he will run down anyone supporting Najib, including bloggers that stopped supporting him, using childish labeling of makan dedak. He questioned feudelism but insist on blind loyalty of a feudel chief.
It is unfortunate that Mahathir will miss out on an interesting lawsuit by a Malaysian against the Australian government for demanding tax on his Malaysian income.
Residents of Australia are required to pay for income earned abroad but the Malaysian insisted and proved he is a Tax Resident of Malaysia.
The Australian Federal Court insisted he is a Tax Resident of Australia despite acknowledging issues raised questioning his Australian residency status.
The case is up for mention today in Kuala Lumpur and The Mole has the report here.
Sir Hii Yii Ann, knighted in 2007 by the Queen of England, is a Malaysian businessman from Sibu, Sarawak with business interest in Malaysia, PNG, Philippines, Hong Kong and Australia.
He is likely to be related to the Foochow family controlled PLC, Ta Ann Berhad.
In his affidavit, he claimed to maintain his domicile in Malaysia. His residential address is in Singapore. However, his family and children lives in Brisbane and study in Australia.
Yii Ann insist his business and living arrangement remained in PNG and Malaysia. His work is in Singapore and PNG, And, he holds a work permit in PNG, Non-Immigrant Visa in Philippines and Australia Sub Class 155 Visa.
Yii Ann is questioning the decision by the Supreme Court in March this year in favour of the Australian Tax Authorities (ATO) for declaring he has abandoned his Malaysian domicile.
Consequently, court upheld the decision of ATO to change his Tax Residency Status from Malaysia to Australia for the years of assessment 2001 to 2009 and slap him with a tax bill of A$60 million.
ATO is seeking a court order to force sell his properties in Australia, PNG and elsewhere. [Read The Courier Mail dated April 2016 here]
Yii Ann argued that he has declared himself as a Tax Resident of Malaysia thus the ATO action and decision by the Australian court is in breach of the International Tax Treaties and the Dual Taxation Agreement 1980 between Malaysia and Australia (referred to as "tax treaty").
Yii Ann insisted and backed it with documents to show he continued to live outside of Australia and did not travel much to Australia, especially after permanent separation from his wife in 2002. His business hardly takes him to Australia
From a non-legal and non-taxation expert view, it would have implication on Malaysians with family in Australia but living, working and paying tax in Malaysia.
There are sizeable number of Malaysians with such living arrangement and at one time, Australia encouraged economic migration to attract investment.
Any person with country losing ownership over the local indigenous medicinal aphrodisiac of Tongkat Ali due to international Intellectual Property.
If the Malaysian court upheld the decision of the Australian court, it mean Malaysia could lose tax revenues at the whim and fancy of the Australian tax authority to nullify the Tax Residency of anyone setting foot into their country.
The tax treaty was signed before globalisation was the buzzword.
The tax audit by the Australian tax authority on Yii Ann coincide with public pressure on foreigners buying u00lp properties and allegedly jacking up prices beyond the affordable reach of local Australians. The Australian media have been nasty towards foreigners and reports have been sensationalising the case instead of highlighting the legal issue at stake.
As any businessman, Yii Ann has business interest in Australia in the form of investment in two properties in the CBD of Brisbane. After his separation in 2002, he put up for sale in 2005 and 2007.
It reminded how MARA Inc got caught in the mess with allegation of corruption for their property investment in Australia but looks likely meant to fix Dato Shafie Apdal. Politics should not make collateral damages of good intention to raise revenue to fund Bumiputera education.
Maybe Malaysians and Asians should start a campaign to "buy Australia last". It helps to remind Mahathir and family whose very at home in the colonial motherland and close with British these days of his "buy British last" policy.
Mahathir was a better person when he was conscience of neo-colonialism threat.