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Shell gets ruling to stay payment of RM890m tax assessment

28 August 2023

Shell Gas Holdings (Malaysia) Ltd has obtained a Court of Appeal order to stay a ruling for the oil and gas company to pay tax assessment of nearly RM890 million.

The appellate court today allowed Shell’s stay application, pending the firm’s appeal to quash a Kuala Lumpur High Court order for it to pay RM883,693,017 in taxes to the Inland Revenue Board (IRB).

The company’s counsel, S Saravana Kumar, confirmed with Malaysiakini that the three-person bench - chaired by judge Lee Swee Seng and composed of member judges Che Mohd Ruzima Ghazali and Azizul Azmin Adnan - allowed the company’s stay application.

The panel ruled that there were special circumstances to warrant the granting of a stay order to Shell as the matter involved a large sum of tax involving a taxpayer with a good tax payment record.

Shell’s appeal - now pending before the Court of Appeal - is over the High Court’s refusal to allow its application for leave to commence judicial review over the tax assessment.

Capital receipt

The company previously filed a judicial review application against the finance minister - under which IRB falls - in relation to a tax assessment raised for the year 2017.

The issue is over whether the gains - arising from the disposal of 15 percent shares owed by Shell in Malaysia LNG Tiga Sdn Bhd - were subject to income tax.

Shell contended that the gains are capital receipt and thus, should not be subjected to income tax, especially given that the company had owned the shares for some 22 years as an investment.

Shell Gas was also represented by co-counsel Felicia Wong from law firm Rosli Dahlan Saravana Partnership.

The finance minister was represented by senior federal counsel Krishna Priya Venugopal from the Attorney-General's Chambers.

Edited by Hidir Reduan Abdul Rashid

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