A consideration of the income of a Yang di-Pertuan Agong and Sultans as contained in the Civil List Act 1982 for the consideration of the rakyat charmingly written by an Encik Fahri Azzat.

The Civil List Act 1982 is instructive reading as it contains the amounts paid to the Yang di-Pertuan Agong for the masterful performance of his Royal Duties. Section 2(1) of the Act provides that his Highness shall receive an annual sum as contained in the First, Second, Third, and Fourth Schedule.

The First Schedule provides for a Privy Purse of RM 468,000.00 (or if he received a higher sum as Sultan, then that sum would apply), RM 156,000.00 for entertainment and Istana Negara Royal Allowance of RM 187,200.00. A grand total of RM 811,200.00. This is paid directly to his Highness.

The Second Schedule provides for Istana Expenses and Hospitality of RM 2,259,100.00, Salaries of Staff of the Istana of RM1,514,700.00 and Royal Bounty, Alms and Special Services of RM50,000.00. All that amounts to RM 3,823,800.00 and is payable directly to the “controlling officer” appointed pursuant to section 15A of the Financial Procedure Act 1957. These are officers appointed by the Finance Minister (or State Financial Authority), to manage, regulate, execute and account for that expenditure.

The Third Schedule provides for the Raja Permaisuri Agong’s allowances which are a Privy Purse of RM 87,360.00, entertainment allowance of RM 28,080.00 and an Istana Negara Royal Allowance of RM 36,000.00. A grand total of RM 151,440.00.

Both the payments under the First and Third Schedules are “payable monthly on the last day of each month or on such other day of the month as the Minister of Finance may from time to time determine.” (see section 5(2) of the Act)

Finally, the Fourth Schedule is in respect of “such sums as may be necessary for the provisions of privileges”. There is no sum stipulated in the Schedule except for the phrase: “There shall be provided such privileges as may be determined by the Cabinet from time to time.” The same discretion is also applied to section 3 of the Act which provides for their Highness’s “Other privileges”.

How interesting. That sure would be useful in one’s armoury of persuasion!

All this is of course paid out of the “Consolidated Fund”. This is defined in Article 97(1) of the Federal Constitution which provides as follows:

All revenues and moneys howsoever raised or received by the Federation shall, subject to the provisions of this Constitution and of federal law, be paid into and form one fund, to be known as the Federal Consolidated Fund.

Basically our taxes and whatever money raised by government goes towards paying at least RM 4,786,440 (adding up the first three Schedules) for the Yang di-Pertuan Agong, the Raja Permaisuri Agong and their household. I think the equivalent or thereabouts is paid to the Sultans in their State.

So let’s make a rough estimate here starting with rounding the figure down to a still generous RM 4 million per Sultan/Agong. Since there are nine of them that amounts to a minimum of RM 36 million spent on them a year. Wow.

The other point is this: since their Highness’s are paid such generous allowances, should they be soiling their pristine royal hands with the rigours of hard work and business dealings. Is it seemly for our royalty who are held in high regard to be seen squabbling over matters of ringgit and sen?

I for one could live a perfectly content life with such an allowance and see no need for troubling myself any further where that is concerned preferring to spend more time attending to the needs of the rakyat, after all one cannot rule over no one. What is more, I would argue that it is in their interest to do so. For example, if I felt much more were needed to sustain my lifestyle, I would gather my royal brothers (pretend lah!) and persuade all of them to jointly apply to Cabinet to ask them to amend the Schedules accordingly since that is in their discretion to amend.

But to go into business I think is not terribly fair on the rest of us because they would effectively be taking away that potential income from the rakyat, whom let us not forget are already paying them and their household a generous allowance. They have advantage of a limited immunity, which would still make suing them a hassle because the Attorney General would have to first consent to it. So they have an inherent advantage over most of the rakyat where business opportunities are concerned not just because of their legal status but also because of their “awe factor” where people would want them in their companies to heighten their profile or improve their image. You want Royalty X in your company or Encik Whocares? Not to mention their no doubt impressive network connections and increasingly noticeable political activity (i.e. the demand for the return of their full immunity made not too long ago).

But then what do I know of royal life and pursuits (aside from maybe poor golfing), eh? And let us look to the silver lining no matter how thin and tattered it may be – we should celebrate and nurture their Highness’s entrepreneurial and social flair. After all, we don’t want them to look shabby compared to the other royalties in the world, now do we? So all of you out there, please be generous in your dealings with them, if ever you are fortunate enough to do so. It is in all our interest. Malaysian Boleh!

Fahri Azzat practices the dark arts of the law. Although he enjoys writing and reading, he doesn't enjoy writing his own little biographies of himself. Like this one. He wished somebody else would do it...

26 replies on “What we pay our Royalty”

  1. Dear Fahri Azzat,
    From my scouring of the internet, the allowance for state ruler (sultans and their kerabat) are placed under Enakmen Peruntukan DiRaja, which vary from state to state. From my limited research, i've only found one example from Kedah which entitled its Sultan RM 52K among other emoluments to his kerabat, this is circa 2005-6. So I'm not sure about other states. Can you verify this? About tax exemptions, what I know is that official emoluments for state ruler are tax exempted, but what about incomes from their personal businesses? Are they exempted from tax as well? (serious queries)

  2. Interesting. Thanks for disseminating the above FA. The fourth schedule I viewed (like you) with particular concern. Weaker men unlike our staunch and steadfast Royals could be held sway to such fiscal rewards. Why 10 ringgit could be used to get lesser men to look the other way whereas the fourth schedule here is tantamount to a blank cheque. Better them then me to have such rewards held over whilst I try to stay the path of righteousness…

  3. Dear TL,

    That is incorrect.

    The sum I stated as contained in the First and Third Schedules are yearly sums. So for example, RM 811,200 is given per year but then paid monthly. So basically you breakdown that figure by 12.

    But what Robin 2 Hoots said is right – the more interesting portions that we do not know is what is given under the 4th schedule and other privileges under section 3 of the Act because these are at Cabinet's discretion.

    Since the rakyat pays for all these princely and royal items – I think the rakyat has the right to know what is given to them under those discretionary provisions. That would at least help us understand how some of the royalty appear to live beyond their means.

  4. 'Both the payments under the First and Third Schedules are “payable monthly on the last day of each month or on such other day of the month as the Minister of Finance may from time to time determine.” (see section 5(2) of the Act)'

    Correct me if I am wrong. I think it should be RM4M/Sultan A MONTH. Thats RM432M/year. Plus the Fourth Schedule, it would be easily over RM1b.

  5. only RM4 million per sultan? Wow that's cheaper than maintaining prime minister's palace in Putrajaya

  6. RM4 mil per household is chicken feed, petty cash.

    It'll be interesting to know how much was/or is being paid out under the Fourth Schedule.

  7. Did you witness the fancy dress Raja Muda waiting patiently to be called to address the May7 illegal Perak State Assembly….6 hours!! Boy, he sure knew which side of his bread is well buttered!

    I wonder he will have the same patience if it was Pakatan?

    Yet, we taxpayers are supporting these fancy dressed clowns!

  8. Thank you Lord Fahri.

    You know the one thing that has bothered me the most about Malaysian life and well, just humanity in general?

    Why are we so easily duped by someone's fancy attire and superficial displays of wealth? And why do we prostrate before these people, give our freedoms away and choose to be led by such incompetent folk? Are we really just that dumb?

    Why is there always a need to put these charlatans on a pedestal and idolize them?

    Even if a leader did have some kind of credibility, still why the need to revere him? It would only ultimately give him a false sense of authority and make him reduce himself to a charlatan.

    More so, why do people want to be led? How come nobody ever takes responsibilities for themselves? Why is there a need to rely on someone who doesn't know you and frankly doesn't really care about you?

    Some chap stands on a podium after 3 years of experience in politics, gets some sponsors to throw confetti on stage with some flashing lights and gives out some meaningless rhetoric on 'Change', 'Hope' and 'Believe' and the next thing you know this chap is the President.

    Now that's America, where there still is some semblance of democracy minus the media who essentially tells the voting public who to vote for.

    But in this country, why the continued reliance on people who really do not give a crap about you, your family or your future? Why the need to hope and believe in people who never have to work in their lives tell you that Malaysia belongs to all Malaysians equally, and all have an equal right and responsibility to take ownership of their country?

    Whenever I hear a rhetoric like this I'm always reminded of the words "Arbeit macht frei" which is German for "Work Brings Freedom" and can be conveniently found above the gates of most Nazi Concentration Camps – an insulting reminder of whose really in charge.

  9. I'd be happy to be appointed sole monarch of Malaysia at the Agong's present salary and I promise to cut entertainment expenses by at least 50% and never allow personal business to get in the way of being a shining example of nobility. integrity, and dignity. At least twice a year I shall organize a grand concert featuring all the best musicians in the country plus special guests from abroad = just to keep the nation rocking – and it will be televised into every home so all Malaysians can enjoy the show. Every time I'm photographed at official functions I shall be grinning from ear to ear like a chimpanzee in heat.

  10. Is not not a sensitive issue to comment on the 'wasted' billions?Malaysians are clowns,rolling inside a 'circus'ball and have no 'brains'to get out from the mess!!

  11. that's why the sultan of perak eagerly wanted B-End to run the state, else in future who know's their royalty will be dropped !

  12. I would even venture to say that the RM4 mil per household is not their major source of income. To run such a household, RM4 mil is way too low. Living in Singapore, I have in many occasions seen large, American/European cars bearing just the number plate "TMJ" (Tengku Mahkota Johor) running around here in the luxurious Orchard area. Those cars are certainly more than RM4 mil. And they are certainly spending Sing-Dollars on luxury goods and services.

    No, I think what we cannot ascertain is how much income they get from their real estate and various other contributions (in-kind or cash). In the case of Perak, the royal household has a significant shareholding in the mainboard listed Gamuda.

  13. It is time, Malaysians should re-visit the issue of having a Repulic than supporting royal leeches. Better spend on one, the President in a Repulic than having to spend on nine!

    In the world today, there are only 21 kings left (including tiny islanders and underdeveloped countries), almost half of them come from Malaysia…what a blooming joke…keeping these parsites at the taxpayers' expense!

    Money spent on hospitals and schools are more useful and correct.

  14. Well,now I know where my hubby's 90K in tax goes to. With so many sultans in Malaysia, we have to work harder in order to support their evergrowing and everchanging lifestyles. I wish I could spend 90k on myself, but truth is we are forced to pay the government and these goons. I say, enjoy our taxpayers money while you can.

  15. Don't they pay taxes …??? They are still Malaysians & NO blue blood & "Sultan" by title only…..!!!

    What have they done for the rakyat so far, besides being there just to represent their own state…?????????

    All "workings" are done by the rakyat "that has to EARN a living"…!!

    Those good "rakyat money" could have been put to good use.


    Opening more goverment day-care centre to allow mothers to work. And especially for SINGLE mothers…!!!

    Opening small goverment clinic in rural areas for the poor for FREE….!!!

    Opening more goverment complaint centres to look into the rakyat's issues…!!!

    Opening more goverment Old Folks Home & Orphanage for the unfortunate…!!!

    Etc…………………, Etc………………………!!!

    Why can't our goverment think of all these thru all…… the 52yrs of them…????????????

    I really want to know where & "how" our millions & billions of rakyat money has been spent & where has it gone to & "WHY" are we still like "third world" situation….????????????????????????????????

    And "why" are politicians getting fatter & sooo……. comfortable till they can't "go to the ground" to meet the rakyat…???????????????????????

    Aren't the goverment 'servants' suppose to serve the rakyat…???

    Go to "any" goverment institution & see their attitude…!!!

    Sometimes you really feel like ………..!!!????

  16. Well being paid RM4M a year is good money which off course is the taxpayers money. Then why should the royalty get involved in businesses. The time has come for the royalty to set up a trust fund for part of the privy purse and render help to the poor and needy. They should subscribe to such noble causes. This is a correction to my earlier message

  17. Well being paid RM4M a year is good money which off course is the taxpayers money. Then why should the royalty get involved in business. The time has come for the royalty to set up a trust of part of the privy purse and render help to the poor and needy. They should subscribe to such noble causes.

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