How much income tax do the 20 richest Malaysians pay?


This is a good question, especially now that the government plans to introduce GST, which will add and spread the tax burden to everyone.

Instead of a regressive tax like the GST, what we need is a progressive tax system that taxes people according to their wealth and uses that money to create a more inclusive social security net for those most vulnerable.

The MP for Kelana Jaya, Wong Chen, wrote the following:

This morning (7 October 2014) Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim asked if the government is willing to disclose how much income tax the top 20 richest persons in Malaysia, collectively pay. He did not ask the Minister to disclose individually how much each of them is paying. He asked for a collective sum.

The Minister Ahmad Maslan later said that he cannot disclose the information because section 138 of the Income Tax Act forbids him to do so.

I have read section 138 and here is my response.

First, there is no provision in section 138 that says that a collective number cannot be disclosed. Income tax is happy to say that it will collect RM140 billion this year from 2.3 million tax payers and 100,000 companies. That’s a collective number. So why can’t they announce a collective number of how much the combined 20 richest persons pay?

Second, section 138(2)(c) actually ALLOWS the Minister unfettered powers to disclose whatever information he sees fit.

So there you have it.

To quote X-files: A Minister can say what he wants but “the truth is still out there”.

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  1. How are things in the “most democratic” country?

    “Over 2007-2013, total US wealth increased by 26%. The richest 0.01% of US house-holds now owns a record 11.1% of wealth, or $9.1 trillion. The next tier, the 0.1%, has 21.5% while the top 1% has 39.8% of wealth or $32.6 trillion. At least 40% of it is relatively idle; just 0.5% of it could eliminate poverty nationwide. After including their secret wealth in offshore banks based on conservative estimates, the richest 0.01% owns $14.5 trillion, the 0.1% owns $26.4 trillion and the 1% owns $44.5 trillion.

    In the same period , the median household lost 43% of its wealth, and its income declined by 8.3% to $51,000 per year. Only 29% of the 213 million people of working age earn at least the average $35,000 required to cover basic, individual expenses without taking on debt. It takes another $10 thousand to support one child.

    Total personal debt is $12 trillion. Though banks borrow at almost no cost, they charge “sub-prime” borrowers interest of about 21%. As most people cannot repay their debts, this just creates the next economic crisis.

    The government publishes bogus economic indicators such as a 6% rate for unemployment instead of a more realistic 23%, 15% for poverty instead of 47%, and 2% for inflation. The mainstream media parrots these indicators.”

    – David DeGraw,

    • The same rich-poor divide is happening & deepening in CosmoKapitan Penang built for the rich & famous. But the state gomen is pretending nothing ugly-economics under the mud of Gurney Drive.
      “The fastest route to rich & wealthy & famous is becoming a developer” echoes in the convention halls of property guru talks. More so in a developer-friendly CAT Penang.
      It takes only a few days of GE ceramah to talk like the ultimate holy-saviour of Rakyat, but a full term of arrogance, indifference & U-turns with surprises.

      • So it must be Niau Kong built CosmoKapitan Penang solely for your kind of species?

        Go smell the Gurney Drive mudflats!
        Or have a Sunday sun tan on Botak Hill! Decency not strictly enforced in private land!

  2. Don’t forget all the other taxes and fees in Malaysia e.g.
    RM50 for a credit card, RM300+ for the 5 year passport.
    The latter supposedly to temporarily discourage foreign travel during the late 1990s
    Asian financial crisis.

    Once introduced, never rescinded.

    • There should be no RM50 charge for first credit card.
      But can charge higher for 2nd card and beyond.

      6% GST is to high to start with. Bad for retirees with no active income.

    • I think RM50 for a credit card is reasonable considering the facts that those who apply are earning much more. You have an option not to use it. Moreover previously even without the govt charge of RM50, credit cards company were charging RM80 to RM120 per year. As for the RM300 for 5 year passport, it was introduced in the late 1990 and considering inflation after more than 10 years, at this rate its still reasonable. Don`t you think so.

  3. For those who still scratch their head about how GST works, just take the case of rice, whether you are rich or poor you still need to buy right! So for a rich person it would not be a problem at all but for poor family it will make up a much higher % of their take home pay, meaning this GST is totally regressive. Interesting time but do not forget who to vote for come next election.

    • Only thing, they say many basic food items will be exempt.

      But it is true: it is a regressive tax.

      • BN still do not tell us exactly what is exempted from GST.
        Any chance Najib could tell us at Budget 2015? I doubt so.

      • Please be clear between “exempt” and “zero rated” items.

        “Exempt” means the seller cannot charge you GST. If the original price is RM100 and he has incurred RM6 in input tax, he cannot claim back the input tax from the government, so he will sell to you at RM106 with no GST.

        “Zero rated” means if the original price is RM100 and he has incurred RM6 as input tax, he can sell to you at RM100, no GST as he can claim back the RM6 input tax from the government.

        So basic items should be “zero rated” and not “exempt” if they really want to keep prices low.

      • I think even some of the customs officers will be confused about what’s in store. So expect considerable confusion.

    • The MP for Kelana Jaya, Wong Chen said he has read Section 138 and that there is no provision in section 138 that says that a collective number cannot be disclosed.

      Can he please show us details of Section 138 because we don`t believe in his interpretation as his and PR words are always twisted.

      • BN really likes blind supporters like you. Use your brain, can or not? Or are you lazy as pointed out by Dr M?

      • Section 138. Certain material to be treated as confidential.

        (1) Subject to this section, every classified person shall regard and deal with classified material as confidential; and, if he is an official, he shall make and subscribe before the prescribed authority a declaration in the prescribed form that he will do so.

        (2) No classified material shall be produced or used in court or otherwise except-

        (a) for the purposes of this Act or another tax law;

        (b) in order to institute or assist in the course of a prosecution for any offence committed in relation to tax or in relation to any tax or duty imposed by another tax law; or

        (c) with the written authority of the Minister or of the person or partnership to whose affairs it relates.
        (3) No official shall be required by any court-

        (a) to produce or disclose classified material which has been supplied to him or another official otherwise than by or on behalf of the person or partnership to whose affairs it relates; or

        (b) to identify the person who supplied that material.
        (4) Nothing in this section shall prevent-

        (a) the production or disclosure of classified material to the Auditor-General (or to public officers under his direction and control) or the use of classified material by the Auditor-General, to such an extent as is necessary or expedient for the proper exercise of the functions of his office;

        (b) the Director General from publicising, from time to time in any manner as he may deem fit, the following particulars in respect of a person who has been found guilty or convicted of any offence under this Act or dealt with under subsection 113(2) or section 124-

        (i) the name, address and occupation or other description of the person;

        (ii) such particulars of the offence or evasion as the Director General may think fit;

        (iii) the year or years of assessment to which the offence or evasion relates;

        (iv) the amount of the income not disclosed;

        (v) the aggregate of the amount of the tax evaded and penalty (if any) charged or imposed;

        (vi) the sentence imposed or other order made:
        [Am. Act A225: s.2]
        Provided that the Director General may refrain from publicising any particulars of any person to whom this paragraph applies if the Director General is satisfied that, before any investigation or inquiry has been commenced in respect of any offence or evasion falling under section 113 or 114, that person has voluntarily disclosed to the Director General or to any authorized officer complete information and full particulars relating to such offence or evasion.

        (5) In this section-

        “another tax law” means any Ordinance wholly repealed by this Act, any written law relating to estate duty, film hire duty, payroll tax or turnover tax and any other written law declared by the Minister by statutory order to be another tax law for the purposes of this section;

        “classified material” means any return or other document made for the purposes of this Act and relating to the income of any person or partnership and any information or other matter or thing which comes to the notice of a classified person in his capacity as such;

        “classified person” means-

        (a) an official;

        (b) the Auditor-General and public officers under his direction and control;

        [Am. Act A955: s.5]

        (c) any person advising or acting for a person who is or may be chargeable to tax, and any employee of a person so acting or advising if he is an employee who in his capacity as such has access to classified material; or

        [Am. Act A955: s.5]

        (d) any employee of the Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia;

        [Ins. Act A955: s.5]

        “official” means a person having an official duty under or employed in carrying out the provisions of this Act.

      • Stupid rebuttal from you. I don`t listen to you, Dr M or anybody else especially DAP Anwar and CAT except what is written in the law because they are all liars. Have you read Section 138. You know nuts about it and you come marching in like an idiot. At least I am asking Wong Chen to show me. Read GT Chye. In in doubt or if you do not believe GT Chye version check again.

  4. Nil,
    This is a typical type of answer you can expect from an Umno dorky, they either do not in the first place comprehend the question asked, which is to be expected. May be that is why the nation’s budget is in deficit and even worse near bankruptcy ! As I said before this is only the beginning and more taxes will be implemented or more subsidies cut or reduced, the nation is desperate, very desperate. Countries that are producing oil, like Saudi Arabia or Brunei, fuel is cheaper than Malaysia why, they don’t have this easy way to collect taxes call GST (Goon Surviving Tax) rate would be increased.
    The people might as well get use to the reduction of the subsidies because one day soon there will no more oil, just like Indonesia, and the people will have to import oil and the people will then have to pay the full price of the imported commodity just like many other countries in the world. No doubt a lot more taxes would have been introduced and GST (Goon Surviving Tax)

  5. There is no provision in the law that allowed the govt to disclose income tax of individual or companies. Income tax of individual are confidential and personal matters and the govt has no right to disclose them. Anyway nobody like their income tax to be disclosed. As for listed company whoever want to know can easily get it from Bursa and many sources as they are required to disclose to its shareholders under listing rules. Anyway the income department have already disclosed the total amount. The opposition Pakatan PKR Anwar and Chen are just trying to cari pasal because either they got nothing to do or nothing to dig. As for the 20 wealthiest people, you can roughly guess how much they will have to pay from their salary which come in the millions and the earning from the listed company. If I am not mistaken, these top 10 salaries is 30 millions – 70 millions per years. That is salary alone not counting the profits from the listed and many companies shares they owned.

    Anwar, Chen and Pakatan leaders should know since a simple layman like me also know. They always seem so free cari pasal and creating issue after issue like the Kajang move that wasted our resources and money.

  6. Take from left hand pocket to put into right hand pocket. BR1M n GST are twins to appease the ignorant.

    • The GST has both its good and bad sides. The bad side is that it burdens the poor and under privileged with extra indirect taxation whenever they purchase some of their basic necessities. The good side is that those who are under-taxed due to under-declaration of income would have to pay their taxes if they wish to transform their income into their needs or wants. Therefore, many of those who are living in luxury but pays only a token amount of taxation would have to make their contributions to the government’s coffer. Hence, even money obtained via illegal means which include corruption and other illegal activities are not spared from taxation.


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