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PKR: What increase in household income?

 | October 17, 2017

PKR treasurer-general Tan Yee Kew says the recorded growth in income for B40 households is mainly due to BR1M payments, but that the cost of food, transport and fuel has outstripped the inflation rate.

Tan-Yee-Kew-rahmanPETALING JAYA: PKR took a minister to task today for painting a rosy picture of Malaysia’s household income, adding that dishing out figures to camouflage the real situation will not help remedy matters.

In a statement, PKR treasurer-general Tan Yee Kew referred to the 2016 Report of Household Income and Basic Amenities Survey, which Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Abdul Rahman Dahlan had used to refute complaints that people’s income could not keep pace with the rising cost of living.

Rahman, who is also Barisan Nasional (BN) strategic communications director, had said that the median monthly household income increased to RM5,228 in 2016 as opposed to RM4,585 in 2014, with a growth rate of 6.6% per annum at nominal value.

“In terms of real value, median monthly household income grew at 4.4%.

“This means Malaysian household income grew faster than the inflation rate of 2.1% for the past two years.

“This debunks the popular notion that income in Malaysia is stagnant or income increment does not match the rising prices of goods and services.”

However, Tan said there were two issues in the lowest 40% income group (B40) that needed to be highlighted.

Firstly, she said, the growth of income in such households was not from an increase in salary, but mainly due to Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) payments.

“This means that the increase in household income is not a reflection of an improved economy.”

Secondly, the consumer price index (CPI) used to calculate the inflation rate showed that 67% of the middle to lower income groups’ expenses were in three major areas: food and non-alcoholic beverages; transport; and housing, utilities and fuel.

In the past few years, Tan said, these three areas had had a higher increment rate than the overall CPI and inflation rate.

For example, she added, the inflation rate in 2016 was 2.1%, but the price of food and non-alcoholic beverages had increased by 4.2%.

“The situation is worse this year. The inflation rate in August increased 3.8%, whereas food prices went up 4.3%, and transport expenses even shot up by 11.7%.

“If this minister goes to the market today and tells the aunties that life should be good now as last year’s inflation rate was only 2.1%, he will definitely get a piece of their minds, as the price of food is at least 16% more expensive than before 2014.”

Adding that it was a serious warning sign to the economy when 40% of the people must rely on BR1M aid to make ends meet, Tan said it was no wonder that people were no longer excited about the statistics announced by the government.

“It is high time the government stopped treating the people as fools and bucks up,” she said.

Rahman: Income has grown faster than inflation


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