Categories: SpeechesPublished On: 06/04/2021

Yang Berbahagia Datuk Mohd Nizom Sairi, Deputy Chief Executive Officer (Tax Operation), Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia, Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Haji Abdul Aziz Abu Bakar, President of Malaysian Association of Tax Accountants (MATA), Council Members of the Malaysian Institute of Accountants and the Malaysian Association of Tax Accountants, Distinguished Panellists, Ladies & Gentlemen

  1. Good morning and welcome to the Malaysian Tax Conference 2021, co-organised by the Malaysian Institute of Accountants (MIA) and the Malaysian Association of Tax Accountants (M.A.T.A.).
  2. Today, we are joined by the Deputy Chief Executive Officer (Tax Operations), Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia, who will give his keynote address shortly. This will give us insights into the direction of the tax sector and governance going forward. Thank you, Datuk Mohd Nizom for being with us today.
  3. The theme of this conference is Rebuilding the Economy Together. Although the pandemic caused a great deal of hardship, it also offers a window of opportunity to reset ourselves to become more sustainable and relevant for the future. Within the context of this Conference, we will discuss efforts to rebuild and forge a stronger, more resilient and agile profession, tax ecosystem and nation. The Conference sessions on the Malaysian economic outlook for 2021/2022 as well as the reconstruction of the Malaysian tax system will focus on these rebuilding efforts. In addition, our expert speakers will also discuss the latest developments and initiatives that will affect the tax environment. Do look forward to the sessions on tax challenges faced by corporations, the authorities’ systemic reforms to curtail the shadow economy and plug revenue leaks, as well as the overview of recent regulatory developments, namely the revised Tax Audit Framework 2019, Tax Audit Framework for Transfer Pricing 2019, and Tax Investigation Framework 2020.
  4. Rebuilding is most effective when we are in consensus, together. MIA is an ardent proponent of strategic collaboration. We always seek avenues for collaboration and engagement to ensure that we are on the same page. Today’s Conference is an important platform for collaboration and engagement between tax practitioners and regulators. MIA as the regulator and developer of the accountancy profession is committed to actively engage and collaborate with Government, regulators and businesses, in the public interest. As the voice of the profession, we will articulate and advocate for those interests that are aligned with equitable and just social and economic development, to support sustainable nation building.
  5. In order to rebuild, digital transformation is essential. The Government has unveiled the future direction of the economy – which is to become more connected and digitally driven via the MyDigital and the Malaysian Digital Economy Blueprint. Regulators too are embracing digital, as you will see later in the session on tax big data, whereby advances in big data and data analytics are being adopted by tax authorities. Tax big data will be increasingly critical to address tax evasion, improve tax compliance and generate higher tax revenue for the country, in order to support the many stimulus and development plans announced by the Government, such as the recent PEMERKASA.
  6. Now, if the Government and regulators are ramping up digitalisation, we accountants have to do the same. MIA is implementing numerous initiatives under the MIA Digital Technology Blueprint to facilitate digital adoption among our members and the profession. This includes upskilling on digital competencies, which is integrated into many of our CPD programmes and is also the subject of numerous standalone training programmes on digital transformation.
  7. It is critical that our members, including tax practitioners, embrace digital. Why? One, tax practitioners advise clients on tax planning and tax governance, which affects business outcomes, continuity and long-term sustainability. Therefore, we need to understand the impacts of digitalisation on tax systems and businesses as well as the developments and reforms to taxation as a result of the digital economy. These will be covered in the session on digital economy from the tax perspective, which will explain the OECD/G20 Inclusive Framework on BEPS (base erosion and profit shifting) and the OECD first and second pillars. Digital impacts will also be covered in a separate session on transfer pricing issues, which will focus on several new provisions in the Finance Act 2020 related to enforcement for Transfer Pricing (TP) compliance in Malaysia and IRBM’s updated guidelines on TP documentation rules.
  8. Digital adoption of technologies will also support improved tax transparency and governance. Later I will be speaking on the crucial need for improved tax transparency and tax governance among corporations, as tax compliance comes under increasing scrutiny not just from regulators and authorities, but also investors and the public in an increasingly complex and uncertain landscape. Tax transparency is also a key factor to be considered under the Governance aspect of ESG Ratings, and ESG impacts and filters are becoming increasingly important to maintain access to investment and to export markets.
  9. Related to governance and ESG is the issue of ethics as well as self-regulation. The profession is exhorted to continually uphold accountability, integrity and trust in the public interest. A tax professional providing important public services serves and acts in the public interest, in compliance with a code of ethics as directed by a licensing authority. Here in Malaysia, the Ministry of Finance regulates licenced tax agents but different jurisdictions have different regulatory approaches. An upcoming session will discuss whether the tax profession in Malaysia should be self-regulated and examines the pros and cons of self-regulation.
  10. That summarises what you can expect throughout these two days. Before I end, on behalf of MIA, I wish to thank our joint organiser, M.A.T.A., distinguished panellists, Silver Sponsors – and Ecovis and all our supporters for working with us to ensure the success of this Malaysian Tax Conference 2021.
  11. Do enjoy the conference. Thank you.