2020 Malaysia Movement Control Order – Customs Developments

The Royal Malaysian Customs Department (“RMCD”) has issued an operational and services alert in light of the Government’s implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) which applies from 18 March, 2020 to 31 March, 2020. The alert can be accessed on the RMCD website.  

Salient Points

The salient points of the alert are as follows:

  1. All customs operations in ports, airports and entry/exit points of the country will carry on with a minimum force of officers and staff. However, operations of other RMCD departments will continue through online platforms only.
  2. The deadline to file any returns ending 31.03.2020 is extended to 15.04.2020. For the returns filed before or on 15.04.2020, any penalty imposed will be given full remission. Payment though online mediums or post are encouraged.
  3. All meetings, discussions and round-table-discussions (RTD) are to be postponed unless it is agreed that it can be held virtually/online between the relevant officers and the taxpayer. Any decision made will be subject to the receipt and verification of the relevant documents.

Our Comments 

The alert does not deal with many critical points :

  1. No blanket extension of time has been given for the making of any application for review to the Director General of Customs under 143(1) of the Customs Act 1967, section 47(1) of the Excise Act 1976, section 81(1) of the Service Tax 2018 and section 96(1) of the Sales Tax Act 2018. Will the Director General provide an extension of time for the filing of applications for review if the 30-day statutory deadline falls within the effective period of the MCO?
  2. The statutory deadline to file any appeal to the Customs Appeal Tribunal is 30 days. The Tribunal has the power to extend the time if the Tribunal is satisfied that it is reasonable in the circumstances to do so. Will the RMCD agree not to object to any application for extension of time to appeal to the Tribunal?
  3. Will RMCD provide taxpayers who have received a Bill of Demand with an extension of time to make payment?

As many of these items involve extension of time for various obligations, we would advise that you seek specific professional advice before you rely on any of them. The position announced by RMCD may be subject to change or RMCD may take a different or narrow interpretation and consequently deny a taxpayer of the same. This could lead inter-alia to penalties being imposed.

Please do not hesitate to contact any of the following persons from our Tax Practice Group if you require any clarification:

Vijey M. Krishnan (Partner) 
(T): 603 – 2632 9868
(E): mkvijey@rdl.com.my

William Wong (Partner)
(T): 603 – 2632 9905
(E): williamwong@rdl.com.my

Nicholas Mark Pereira (Senior Associate)
(T): 603 – 2632 9911     
(E): nicholaspereira@rdl.com.my

Krystal Chiam (Associate)
(T): 603 – 2632 9999 (ext. 1201)
(E):  krystalchiam@rdl.com.my 

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