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Stats Dept: New Poverty Line Income Is RM2,208 Per Month & Income Gap Has Increased

Stats Dept: New Poverty Line Income Is RM2,208 Per Month & Income Gap Has Increased

Kirat Kaur

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The Statistics Department has revealed that the poverty line income for the average Malaysian household has risen to RM2,208 per month.

This figure is over twice the last national poverty line of RM980 monthly per household which was calculated in 2005.

The revelation was made in the 2019 Household Income and Basic Amenities Survey Report and Household Expenditure Survey Report released today.

Chief Statistician Malaysia, Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin explained this analysis has been refined with some updates which includes a revision on the poverty line income (PLI) according to current needs that emphasizes on optimal food intake and quality non-food basic requirements.

This translates to the average Malaysian household (3.9 persons) requiring RM1,038 monthly for optimal food intake.

Another startling revelation in the report is the rise of income inequality in Malaysia, measured using the Gini coefficient where a higher value shows greater inequality. A Gini of zero means everyone is earning the same amount.

In 2019, Malaysia’s Gini coefficient stands at 0.407, a 0.008 point increase from 2016’s 0.399 which marked the first time the figure dropped below 0.4. For reference, Malaysia’s Gini index in 2014 was 0.401 – which means the 2019 figure is worse.

The income inequality based on gross income increased for both the urban (0.389 to 0.398) and rural (0.364 to 0.367) areas.

(Credit: Department of Statistics Malaysia)

This income inequality also increased for all three major ethnic groups― Bumiputera (0.385 to 0.389), Chinese (0.411 to 0.417), Indians (0.382 to 0.411).

Gini coefficient across three major ethnic groups in Malaysia
(Credit: Department of Statistics Malaysia)

The data also shows that income inequality within the Bumiputera group is lesser than in Chinese and Indian groups.

2018 household income figures based on ethnic groups and strata. Note that the blue font represent 2019 figures while the yellow font represent 2016 figures.
(Credit: Department of Statistics Malaysia)

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