CYBERJAYA: Almost half of the rejected applications for Bantuan Prihatin Nasional (BPN) were individuals registered with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM).
The Inland Revenue Board (IRB) chief executive officer Datuk Seri Sabin Samitah said of the 1,056,860 rejected BPN applications, a total of 451,865 were individuals registered with SSM.
He said the Finance Ministry has set a policy that individuals registered with SSM were not eligible for BPN.
He said these individuals, however, could still appeal with the IRB for BPN.
"All they need to do is to come and see IRB officers at our branches nationwide with relevant documents including their companies' accounts.
"We will check whether their businesses are still active or dormant," he said in a special interview held with the New Straits Times, Berita Harian, and Bernama.
He said by coming personally to the IRB branches, these individuals will be able to explain further their situation and financial position to the IRB officers.
Sabin also advised those involved to submit their tax returns in the future to avoid such issues from recurring.
"Besides keeping a complete record, all businesses are encouraged to register with IRB to facilitate the future review process.
"Declaring income to the IRB does not mean automatically being taxed."
He said certain income and expenses necessary to run a business were generally allowed to be deducted and only profits were taxable.
"Therefore, I would like to take this opportunity to call upon all business people to come forward and seek advice from IRB to facilitate their tax matters."
He said although the country was still under the Enhanced Movement Control Order (EMCO), necessary precautions were already in place at IRB branches to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Meanwhile, Sabin said other than its taxation database, IRB will verify with 11 government agencies before approving BPN applications.
He said the move was to ensure that only those eligible received the aid.
He said IRB conducted cross-checks using data from the Accountant General's Department, Malaysian Armed Forces, states' treasury department, Employees Provident Fund (EPF), Retirement Fund Incorporated (KWAP), Social Security Organisation (Socso), Education Ministry, Higher Education Ministry, Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara), National Registration Department (NRD) and SSM.
"This crosschecking was intended to avoid fraud by unscrupulous parties. For example, we can identify those who own companies and the database will indicate that the companies are active based on the transaction activities of the company bank accounts."
Sabin acknowledged that there were complaints, particularly on social media, from those whose applications were rejected.
"However, the issues that went viral on social media were inaccurate because the applications were filtered with the data of various agencies, and not only IRB."
He said other than registered with SSM, BPN applications were rejected due to salaries of those affected exceeding the income range set by the government, and non-compliance with certain requirements such as age eligibility, full-time student, and others.
"For example, there were 240,465 applications received from full-time students despite them not being eligible for BPN because they are qualified for the RM200 one-off university student aid."
On the issue of receiving a lesser BPN amount than what one is qualified for, Sabin said this was due to the policy by the Finance Ministry, which has instructed IRB to cross-examine based on the latest data received from selected government agencies.
"This led to those who initially passed the first phase payments of BPN were denied payments of the second phase as the cross-examination found that their income exceeded the BPN requirement.
"Nonetheless, the ministry and IRB have re-opened the appeal process so that the rejected BPN applicants are given a chance to appeal."
On May 10, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin while addressing the nation said those who had their BPN application rejected can appeal for the aid from May 11 or May 12 (based on working days in each state) at IRB until May 31.
Sabin said appeals will be given due consideration based on the predetermined conditions to ensure that no eligible person was left behind.
"In this regard, applicants may send an appeal based on their reason for rejection respectively for our consideration. They will have to provide evidence to support their appeal."
Sabin said to date; a total of 8.3 million recipients have been approved to receive BPN in the first phase with a total allocation of RM9.3 billion.
"Another 2.3 million new applications and appeals have been approved with a total value of RM1.7 billion in the second phase.
"New applications and appeals for BPN are now open until May 31."
In the case of a 25-year-old man who got his application rejected with the reason that he has passed away, Sabin said the man can visit the nearest IRB branch and appeal for BPN.
"The application was rejected based on our cross-check with the NRD. However, since it was not true that the applicant has passed away, he can come to our branch and apply," he said.
Source: New Straits Times