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Istee Cheah

Istee is a partner in the Tax, Trade and Wealth Management Practice Group of Wong & Partners. Her key practice areas are Malaysian tax planning and advisory work, including areas such as income tax, real property gains tax, stamp duty and indirect tax. Her practice also extends to corporate compliance and issues relating to investments and setting up of operations in Malaysia across multiple industries. She also manages corporate exercises, including cross border mergers and acquisitions. She is also experienced in matters involving restructurings, and post-acquisition integrations.

She also has a core focus on wealth management and succession planning and she is a full member of Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). Istee's practice focuses on advising high-net worth individuals, financial institutions and intermediaries on the legal, regulatory and tax issues in setting up a succession planning structure. She has also assisted families and individuals with the actual implementation of such structures, which includes the setting up of Malaysian or offshore trust structures. Her Wealth Management practice was named the Tax and Trusts Law Firm of the Year by the Asian Legal Business Malaysia Law Awards in both 2020 and 2021, and is ranked as a Band 1 practice by the Chambers High Net Worth Guide for Private Wealth Law.

Istee has collaborated on several guides and publications. Her most recent contribution was to the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) and in the STEP Journal Issue 5, 2022, she co-authored an article titled "Course Correction" which discusses Labuan's adoption of international taxation standards. In addition, she has contributed to the LexisNexis Practical Guidance – Tax, in which she co-authored the Taxation in Malaysia: Overview, Taxation of Trustees and Trust Funds, Automatic Exchange of Information and Succession Laws in Malaysia articles.

A new Companies (Amendment) Bill 2023 (“2023 CA Bill”) was tabled for its first reading at the Malaysian Parliament. The 2023 CA Bill purports to further augment corporate transparency and accountability, and as such, introduces, among other things, new legal requirements in the CA 2016 for Malaysian companies to collate and report beneficial ownership information to the Companies Commission of Malaysia. In this article, we explore the mandatory reporting requirements proposed under the 2023 CA Bill and their potential implications on the wealth management industry.

Asia Pacific tax authorities are actively seeking to reduce tax leakages, non-compliance, and what they perceive to be tax avoidance activities. To help you position your business for success in an era of ever-changing tax rules and intense scrutiny, our subject matter experts from across the region and globally will come together to examine key developments. We will discuss the impact of emerging trends and current issues on your business models and strategies, sharing practical tips on how you can maximize opportunities to achieve the best risk mitigation outcomes.

With a population of just over 100,000, Labuan is a small Malaysian island located off the coast of Borneo in Southeast Asia. Little known to most is that Labuan, a federal territory of Malaysia, has a special status as an International Business and Financial Centre (IBFC). Prior to its rebranding as an IBFC in 2008, in the 1990s, Labuan was initially declared as an international offshore financial center.

Following the developments to the Labuan tax regime through the introduction of economic substance requirements in 2019, the Labuan Companies (Amendment) Act 2022 recently came into effect on 10 June 2022 to amend the Labuan Companies Act 1990. These further developments to the Labuan corporate and regulatory regime clearly highlight Malaysia’s commitment towards adhering to international legal standards of corporate governance and transparency.

Earlier this year, there were reports of the inland Revenue Board of Malaysia (IRB) initiating probes and audits against a number of SVDP participants in relation to the periods for which the voluntary disclosures were made. The previous government administration had introduced the SVDP1 to encourage taxpayers to come forward to disclose their previously misreported income and deductions.