The government may have tweaked a controversial Bill that allows the Minister of Finance to set up an investment panel within the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) to invest in stocks, initial public offerings, bonds, debts and property assets, as pressure mounts over why the country needs another sovereign wealth fund like 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB), according to sources.
A source close to the matter told The Edge Financial Daily on Monday that the IRB would not be given the authority to invest taxpayers' money directly, but only the balance of its annual allocation given by the government after paying staff salaries and expenses in IRB.
This is similar to what had been reported by local newspaper Guang Ming Daily on Sunday, quoting second finance minister Ahmad Husni Mohamad Hanadzlah during a Barisan Nasional coalition event.
"The money belongs to the government and the IRB has no right to use it," he reportedly said.
According to Ahmad Husni, the government will allocate a fixed amount to IRB annually where 70 percent will be used to pay salaries of its 11,000 staff and its expenses. "If there is any balance, the IRB can use it to invest," he had said.
-The Edge Financial Daily
NOTE: Reuters has not verified this story and does not vouch for its accuracy.