KUALA LUMPUR: Household income in 2014 improved by RM1,141 to RM6,141 per month when compared with 2012.
This came from growing contributions from current transfers, such as BRIM, or 1Malaysia People’s Aid Scheme payments, as well as property and investments.
This is according to Khazanah Research Institute’s (KRI) report, The State of Households II, released today.
The report said the growth rate of the 40 per cent lowest-earning households had been the fastest.
KRI Managing Director Charon Mokhzani said while wages and salaries were the largest sources of incomes for heads of households, these only rose by 3.3 per cent nominally and one per cent in real terms between 2012 and 2014.
He said the gaps between urban and rural households and between households of different ethnic groups were closing and the Gini coefficient (a common measure of inequality) had improved to 0.401.
“Access to basic infrastructure — schools and public health facilities — continue to improve.
“We are also a more wired nation as more people and households are having Internet access,” he said at the launch of the report here today.
According to the report, the disparities in wealth, as measured by the Employees Provident Fund and Amanah Saham Bumiputera savings, were more pronounced and there was concern many will not have saved enough for retirement, he said.
Charon said there was concern that there were many who will not have saved enough for a 20-year retirement and were taking on too much debt.
He said according to the report, while households were better off and Malaysians were living longer, with life expectancy of 77.4 years for women and 72.5 years for men, food prices, which had risen faster than overall inflation, were of deep concern.
“Milk powder and other dairy products have risen in contrast to declining prices in countries like Australia and New Zealand and this is an anomaly.”
Unemployment, he said, was also of concern as among them were those with tertiary education.
In terms of wages, he said, across all ethnic groups, households headed by professionals and skilled workers earned more.
Charon said there was a need to be cognisant of emerging challenges, with lower economic growth, rising food costs, stagnant productivity growth and an ageing population.
Thus, safeguarding Malaysian households would require structural measures.