In more depressing news, a survey has found that 15% of Malaysians are skipping meals in order to make ends meet.
The survey conducted by the Merdeka Centre from Nov 4 to Nov 14 on 1,203 registered voters, found that a rather high number of Malaysians were fretting over economic difficulties. According to economists, this situation is “very worrying”, especially for the B40 (bottom 40% income group).
Economist Prof Dr Barjoyai Bardai said that most in the bottom 40% income bracket barely had enough for savings at the end of the month while savings for those in the middle 40% income group (M40) is very minimal.
“The B40 average monthly income is less than RM2,000, while the minimum cost of living in urban areas is RM2,530. Basically, they don’t have the opportunity to save anything, other than their Employees Provident Fund (EPF).
“Even then, it was reported in 2013 that 69% of contributors had less than RM50,000 in their accounts, while 54% had less than RM20,000. You can imagine this group cannot even afford to retire,” he told theSun today.
Barjoyai reckoned that a “crisis” was looming for the B40 and M40 groups. He also said that their average annual pay rise did not match the rising cost of living.
“They will never be able to cope with life in 10 years time. So, we need to make sure each family has other sources of income other than employment,” he said. While the government’s support for initiatives such as ride-hailing services and food truck businesses was commendable, Barjoyai also added that a mass programme to enable every family to have an opportunity to do business was the key answer.
The Merdeka Centre survey also found that 11% needed to pawn off possessions in order to meet expenses (1% higher compared to January 2017); 29% did not possess a minimum of RM500 of savings to address any emergency (33% in January), 64% felt stressed thinking about the future (68% in January), 40% had to delay or were unable to make payments on utility bills, such as electricity and telephone bills, 20% took on new personal loans or charging of credit cards) and 15% encountered new money-related conflicts with the family.
Damn. If this keeps up, a huge chunk of us can’t even afford to retire. Here’s to hoping that things will get better soon!
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