International Business & Economy Singapore has twice as many ultra-rich as Malaysia, but Malaysia seems to...

Singapore has twice as many ultra-rich as Malaysia, but Malaysia seems to be catching up




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A recent report by Credit Suisse showed that in terms of wealth per adult, Singapore ranks 9th in the world. But how does Malaysia measure up? Does our closest neighbor have the a similar number of ultra-wealthy citizens?

But first, a brief explanation on who the ultra rich are. Credit Suisse’s Global Wealth Databook says that these are the people who possess between S$69 million and S$689 million.

As it turns out, Malaysia has 487 such exceedingly wealthy individuals, as opposed to 988 in Singapore, the lone Asian country that made it to the top ten on the list.

In the very top tier with Singapore are the other countries with a mean wealth per adult that’s higher than (S$138,000), including topnotcher Switzerland, followed by Australia, US, Belgium, Norway, New Zealand, Canada, Denmark,  and France.

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The next category is known as the “intermediate wealth” of countries, where mean wealth is from S$34,419 to S$ 137,673. China, countries from the Middle East, Latin America and the European Union are in this group.

The next tier is what is known as nations with “frontier wealth,” where average mean wealth is between S$ 6,884.34 and S$34,419. Countries with a high population such as India, Brazil, Indonesia, Russia, the Philippines and Turkey, as well as quickly developing nations like Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand, are in this category.  Many Latin American counties, nations that border the Mediterranean Sea, Sub-Saharan nations and South Africa, are also in this group of countries.

Other countries in south Asia and central Africa have an average mean wealth of less than S$ 6,884.34 per adult.

Malaysia has aspired to elevate its status to become a high-income nation for some time now, and is actually classified as an “upper middle-income” country. Wealth per adult in Malaysia had nearly quadrupled from S$34,423.13 in 2000 to S$128,059.56 by 2018.

One-third of Malaysia’s super wealthy have at least S$689 million or RM 2 billion. 270 out of the 487 have between S$69million and S$138 million in assets.

However, more and more Malaysians are poised to join the uber-rich category, as there are 46,215 people who have between S$ 1,377,000 and S$ 69,000,000 in assets.

Still and all, putting all these Malaysian millionaires together, one would come up with only 0.2 percent of the total Malaysian population. Of the rest of the 99.8 percent of Malaysians, 60.6 percent have wealth under S$ 13,765 in assets, 36.2 possess between S$ 13,765 and S$ 137,650 in assets and the remaining 3 percent possess between S$ 137,650 and S$ 1,3765,000.

Statistics also point to high inequality in Malaysia, since the country has a high Gini index value of  82 percent. The wealth gap in Malaysia is by no means unusual, but actually follows global wealth distribution patterns.

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