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”.