Top Heavy: A Study on Wealth Distribution in Malaysia
AbstractThis article uses data from Household Income Survey (HIS) to provide an overview of the structure and distribution of wealth in Malaysia, providing estimates of the mean and median levels of household per-capita wealth by asset classes and estimates of the degree of inequality of wealth holdings. The data confirm that wealth is unequally distributed and also that it is much more unequally distributed than income. The study also finds that a sizeable number of Malaysians do not possess any wealth and that more than half do not own any financial assets. Most of their wealth is in the form of property assets, with minimal ownership of financial assets. Quantile regression analysis indicates that wealth is significantly related to a range of factors including age, occupation, education, marital status, ethnicity, and income. It is expected that the inequality gap will remain wide, unless there are reforms in the educational system, the taxation regime, and in poverty-alleviation programs.