Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng has ordered the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia (LHDN) to stop using "roughhouse tactics" against companies accused of tax evasion
LHDN has been ordered to end its practice of bringing armed personnel to office raids.
"We have instructed (LHDN) that the past methods employed by the past government cannot continue," Guan Eng was quoted as saying by Malaysiakini, in reference to the LHDN's previously aggressive tracking of tax evaders.
Guan Eng claimed that the "desperate" Barisan Nasional government had used firearms in conducting office raids
"We know the last government (Barisan Nasional) was desperate so it used such strong methods, especially office raids, accompanied by security people armed with guns and weapons," the Finance Minister alleged.
However, he noted that taxes had been successfully collected for the government with the LHDN's "direct method" in the past.
Nonetheless, the Finance Minister stressed that this milder approach does not mean that the government is "going soft" on tax evaders
"Adopting a rules-based approach does not mean that the government is going soft... tax payers would still need to (pay their taxes) but we want an approach that is fair to everyone," Guan Eng was quoted as saying by The Edge Markets.
He emphasised that tax evaders will not be embarrassed with "roughhouse" tactics during raids.
"We will invite you to come to the IRB (LHDN) office to talk like civilised people," the Finance Minister added.
Earlier this year, LHDN announced its intention to carry out fewer raids, which are commonly known as "field audits"
LHDN aims to cause little disruption to businesses while it carries out its duty this year, according to Free Malaysia Today.
However, LHDN chief executive officer Datuk Sabin Samitah was reported as saying that tax raids will still be conducted on cases involving the "underground economy", such as illegal gambling, illegal moneylending, and vice activities.