Posts Tagged ‘Economy’

Poverty and Gini reduced, average household income increased but…

March 28th, 2013
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Good news indeed, right? I’m sure no one will be unhappy to hear that poverty is reduced. That will contribute a lot towards reducing crime and social problems (barring foreigners-linked ones).

Average household income increases..definitely good news for businessmen as family should have more purchasing power. Can go for movies at cinema, buy more books, enjoy eating out with family once in a while, go on short domestic holiday (hey, maybe even overseas with Everyone Can Fly!), take up some insurance policy, send kids to tuition, renovate house…whoa the list can go on and on. Our household income increased by nearly RM1000 in 3 years (2009-2012), from RM4025 to RM5000 per month. That’s a annual growth of 7.2% it says. The urban household (with more than 2/3 of Malaysians living in urban area) grew 6.6% per annum from RM4,705 a month in 2009 to RM5,742 in 2012, while rural household income grew 6.4% a year from a monthly average of RM2,545 in 2009 to RM3,080 in 2012. (Questions whether its enough to buy a house is not relevant). So, how many of your got a average 7% increase in income per year? Should be a lot of us, right?

And what about the Gini coefficient? Basically, the lower the value of Gini, the better it is because it portrays the inequality of wealth distribution (higher value means rich becoming richer, poor becoming poorer). We registered a drop of 0.01, from 0.441 to 0.431. So the gap between Ananda Khrishnan and myself has been reduced, well probably a miniscule amount, but still REDUCED! 🙂

So, what is the definition of being poor? Want to check out an old article of mine about Budget 2013? Not so old actually.

Ok, let’s read the article from Star below and feel an unexplainable pleasure. Then proceed to article  that appears after that.

Malaysia more than halved its poverty statistics over the past three years, with the number of poor people now standing at less than 110,000 nationwide, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop.

He said the country’s overall poverty rate dropped to 1.7% in 2012, compared to 3.8% in 2009.

“With this achievement, the target under the 10th Malaysia Plan to reduce overall po­verty to 2% in 2015 has been achieved three years earlier.

“This is a result of rapid economic development and the effectiveness of poverty eradication programmes carried out by the Go­­vernment,” he said at a press conference to announce the findings of the 2012 National Household Income Study here.

He said the fall in incidences of poverty happened in both urban and rural areas, with urban poverty falling to just 1% last year compared to 1.7% in 2009, while rural areas registered a significant drop from 8.4% in 2009 to just 3.4% in 2012.

Sabah registered the biggest reduction in poverty from 19.7% of the population in 2009 to 8.1% three years later.

The minister said all states registered a reduction in poverty rates, with marked improvements in Penang, Selangor, Malacca and the federal territories – all of which ave­raged 0% hardcore poor in their areas as at 2012.

“This is proof that the Federal Government’s initiatives to eradicate poverty have succeeded and been of benefit to the rakyat regardless of differences in political ideology,” he said.

Meanwhile, Malaysians enjoyed an annual increase of 7.2% to their average household income over the 2009-2012 period, or a nearly a RM1,000 hike in their average monthly income from RM4,025 in 2009 to RM5,000 in 2012.

Despite similar growth rates, urban household income grew at 6.6% per annum from RM4,705 a month in 2009 to RM5,742 in 2012 while rural household income went up at a rate of 6.4% a year from a monthly average of RM2,545 in 2009 to RM3,080 in 2012.

Despite this, he added that Malaysia still improved on wealth distribution, having secured a lower score of 0.431 on its “Gini coefficient” (a system to measure inequality in wealth distribution) in 2012, compared to 0.441 in 2009.



OK, so you are feeling happy and blissful already? Great! Now, let’s come down to earth a bit by reading how poverty line is calculated and what’s the current figures are:

Sesebuah isi rumah adalah dianggap sebagai miskin tegar sekiranya pendapatan bulanan isi rumah tersebut adalah kurang daripada Paras Garis Kemiskinan (PGK) makanan, iaitu pendapatan yang mencukupi bagi membolehkan isi rumah tersebut memenuhi keperluan asas dari segi nutrisi makanan yang minimum yang membolehkan setiap ahlinya mempunyai tubuh badan yang sihat.

PLI miskin tegar adalah diukur berdasarkan kepada komposisi demografi ahli isi rumah iaitu bilangan isi rumah, umur dan jantina bagi menentukan keperluan diet atau kalori (Keperluan Harian Diperlukan atau Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) 2004, Kementerian Kesihatan dan Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia). PLI juga mengambil kira harga jualan semasa bagi membeli keperluan harian tersebut berdasarkan lokasi mengikut Negeri dan Strata (Bandar atau Luar Bandar). PLI akan dikira berdasarkan kepada keperluan setiap isi rumah dan Indeks Harga Pengguna atau Consumer Price Index (CPI) makanan.

Keperluan Kalori bagi setiap isi rumah dikira berdasarkan kepada struktur demografi setiap isi rumah seperti umur, berat, jantina dan kadar metabolasi badan atau basal metabolic rate (BMR) mengikut paras aktiviti fizikal atau physical activity level (PAL) setiap isi rumah.

Sejumlah 8,725 kalori setiap hari adalah diperlukan (untuk 5 Orang setiap isi rumah) berdasarkan kepada 7 kategori makanan yang meliputi 13 jenis makanan iaitu :

  • nasi;
  • tepung gandum;
  • biskut;
  • ayam;
  • telur;
  • ikan;
  • susu;
  • minyak masak;
  • majerin;
  • gula;
  • buah-buahan;
  • sayur-sayuran; dan
  • kacang.

(Berdasarkan kepada Komposisi Nutrisi Makanan Malaysia, IMR 1997)

Sehubungan itu, merujuk kepada Unit Perancang Ekonomi, Paras Garis Kemiskinan Tahun 2009 selaras dengan Rancangan Ekonomi Kesepuluh (RMK-10),Paras Garis Kemiskinan (PGK) makanan yang telah ditetapkan untuk isi rumah miskin tegar berdasarkan kepada kiraan di atas adalah RM460.00 seisi rumah.

Definisi Miskin

Sesebuah isi rumah adalah dianggap miskin sekiranya pendapatan bulanan isi rumah tersebut adalah kurang daripada Paras Garis Kemiskinan (PGK), iaitu pendapatan yang mencukupi bagi membolehkan isi rumah tersebut memenuhi keperluan asas dari segi makanan dan bukan makanan yang membolehkan setiap ahlinya berfungsi di dalam masyarakat.

PLI bukan makanan adalah manggunakan kiraan Bank Dunia di dalam menentukan keperluan minima perkhidmatan dan bukan makanan. Keperluan ini dikira berdasarkan kepada perbelanjaan keseluruhan isi rumah dengan mengambil kira PLI makanan (isi rumah yang berada pada jurang 10% di atas dan 10% di bawah PLI makanan). Ini akan menunjukkan jumlah perbelanjaan sebenar termasuk komponen bukan makanan untuk membolehkan sesebuah isi rumah tersbut berfungsi di dalam masyarakat.

PLI akan dikira berdasarkan kepada keperluan setiap isi rumah dan Indeks Harga Pengguna atau Consumer Price Index (CPI) makanan dan bukan makanan mengikut Negeri dan Strata (Bandar dan LuarBandar).

PLI bukan makanan akan mengambil kira keperluan asas seperti berikut:

  • Pakaian;
  • Sewa, Minyak dan Elektrik;
  • Perkhidmatan asas;
  • Pengangkutan dan komunikasi; dan
  • Lain-Lain

Sehubungan itu, merujuk kepada Unit Perancang Ekonomi, Paras Garis Kemiskinan Tahun 2009 selaras dengan Rancangan Ekonomi Kesepuluh (RMK-10), Paras Garis Kemiskinan (PGK) makanan dan bukan makanan yang telah ditetapkan untuk isi rumah miskin berdasarkan kepada kiraan di atas adalah RM760.00 seisi rumah.



So, poverty rate is RM760 per month per household of 5 person. Low income household is a bit unclear, with values of <1500, <2000, and even <3000 being stated.

Question is, is RM760 a valid figure to define poverty line? Maybe the mechanism stated above needs to revisited immediately so that our statistics are not made to be laughing stock.

If our poverty line is increased to RM2000, poverty rate can be as high as 33%! Interesting right?

Our average household income had increased and our inflation rate still steady at below 2% and its expected to continue at that range for 2013, says our Deputy Finance Minister. Check out CPI trend at . Questions do arise, is an average income of RM5,000 per household (5 people) per month sufficient especially in urban areas?

You may want to read the following articles as well:


Summary of PM Najib goodies during Unity Ponggal concert

February 3rd, 2013
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I watched the Unity Ponggal event (organised by MIC and an NGO) via TV. The HD version was good. The performances were OK, but the theme of event totally spoilt by the speeches, especially by MIC leaders. Disgraceful comes to mind. Saying unity but talk about politics.

Anyway, the most anticipated moment is PM Najib’s speech as he is expected to announce goodies (remember last year event at Kapar?). The list below is what he had mentioned today:

1. He will discuss with Education Minister Muhyiddin on possibility of converting those partially-aided SJKTs, who agree to be converted, into fully aided ones in stage.

2. TAFE college to be upgraded to technical university college

3. funding for pre-school education to be provided in SJKTs

4. funding to upgrade 15 crematoriums and community centres in areas where Indian community population is high.

5. to focus on reducing crime among Indian youths, increase equity to 3% and improve access to higher education.

The goodies were quite general in nature (and some like 3% equity is stale news), so expect the details to arrive…probably after GE13. I’m always wary of the (yet-t0-be-seen)  fine prints. The upgrading of TAFE is something MIC asked for, during the AGM.

Myself quite disappointed because PM (i) didn’t declare holiday for Ponggal, (ii) didn’t lift suspension on Vishvaroopam, and (iii) didn’t announce that places in matrikulasi and asasi IPTA will be open to all.

Oh yeah, he also mentioned something about “Indians, including Indian Muslims” when talking about money changers business. Struck me as odd.

Interestingly, PR also held a Ponggal function today in Klang, and yes, it was also politically-toned.

Abusing our festivals.


Online offers a way to save money

January 22nd, 2013
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Imagine a 4-box 200 piece 2-ply tissue paper (Premier brand) cost about RM8 in 2010. Now its more than RM12. So, shift to in-house brand like Tesco tissue paper which is still less than RM7 for the same specification (of course the quality is different). This is what we mean by tightening our belts? Our economy is booming and increasing, but I still think can’t afford the same brand of tissue paper now as compared to 3-4 years ago. Same goes to Dutch Lady 6-in-pack chocolate drink. I think its about RM8, whereas it was in the RM6 range few years back. So, no more chocolate drink. And the list goes on. And yet, I notice we are driving quite expensive cars – Mazdas, Toyotas, Hondas, Nissans, Volkswagen, Mercedes, BMW, Audi, Lexus, Peugeot, etc and houses costing hundreds of thousands of ringgits are sold out fast. Maybe we have to cut down our other expenses because transportation and housing costs a lot.  So our purchasing power increased, decreased or still the same?

Foodstuff and groceries is eating big chunk of our expenses (Other than transportation and housing), even if we reduce quantity or choose alternative brands/products. So, have to reduce expenses in other areas or look for bargains. For example, when I want to dine out, I see if there’s any offers, either online or in newspaper. Also there are some sites like Restaurants KL which offers good deals for eating out.

I even bought photoalbum from the Groupon services vouchers offer for RM53 only which can easily cost  more than hundred ringgit. And even have the freedom to design our own pages! Anyway, still working on creating the album. Got lots of photos and designs to choose from…

So, look out for deals from such websites and also other sources like newspaper. It can help to save substantial amount of $$$ for those extra things you want to purchase.

The Case of The Crystal Crown Hotel Halal Signboard

January 10th, 2013
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This a good example of  how things will turn out in future. When clashes like this occur, the “non-halal” group will have to give way, due to economic reasons. The owner won’t want to lose licensing and risk losing revenue from those customers. On the other hand, the non-halal industry will see lesser customer base due to smaller population and armtwisting measures such as this. In may not be viable in the long run to operate such businesses. So, only pockets of such non-halal eateries will exist, that too in areas with significant non-muslim population.

I thought if the goods are properly packed and sealed, it should not be an issue. Maybe the non-halal items are carried in plastic bags and with some liquid dripping on the floors will contaminate the halal products. Whatever the reason, the non-halal operator will suffer.

I wonder if in future will have separate lifts for people, you know, in case a non-halal food consumer burps or brings such food with him. Separate lifts (or worse asked to use stairs!), taxis, buses, office areas? As it is, school students are not allowed to bring non-halal food to school and canteen also can’t sell them.

So, in the future, you may have to travel some distance to get that bowl of bak kut teh or wan tan mee (for example, look at areas like Shah Alam, Bangi, or Putrajaya). Extra cost and time for you. I wonder if this can be some form of racial segregation since eateries of different races will be separated.

Its easy to say that implementing some laws or rules won’t affect others, but in reality, you will be affected.  Be it halal or syariah or hudud or even use of certain “words”, you can’t run away from being involved because the ones interpreting and executing those laws are humans, not God.


PETALING JAYA: The controversial signboards beside three elevators at the Crystal Crown hotel here were put up to comply with the requirements stipulated by the Department of Islamic Development (Jakim) regarding the transportation of non-halal food.

Crystal Crown’s chief operating officer Khoo Hui Keam said: “Our ‘halal’ licence expired last June and Jakim had new requirements which stated that we [Crystal Crown] could not renew it because we had a Chinese eatery within the hotel which served pork.”

She added that the hotel management tried speaking to the Chinese eatery to stop serving food which contained pork.

“The owner of the restaurant turned back at us and said: ‘If you guys want us to stop serving pork, it is as good enough as asking us to leave’,” she told FMT.

However, Khoo said that the management was reluctant to vacate the Chinese eatery as they had been long-serving customers of the hotel and were good “pay masters” for rental.

The Selangor Islamic Religious Department (Jais) got involved as well, according to Khoo, and they offered to appeal for the hotel to get its certification renewed if they separated the passage through which “halal” and “non-halal” food were transported.

Crystal Crown’s management decided to go ahead with the JAIS’ recommendation and the signboards at levels B1, B2, and B3 were erected to notify food suppliers that only “halal” food could be transported using those elevators.

FMT understands that food suppliers to the Chinese restaurant have to use the staircase to transport their “non-halal” goods.

Asked if there was any monitoring of the goods that go in the lifts, Khoo said: “There are security personnel at all three floors and the lifts have video surveillance as well.”

New sign soon

Referring to the signboards, Khoo added that both Jais and Jakim visited the hotel premises last week and were not pleased.

“They said that it [signboards] were ‘too high’ and wanted them lowered to eye-level. They also complained that the signboards are not striking enough,” she said.

Due to their complaints, Khoo said a new sign was to be put up soon with a brighter colour so suppliers were well aware that only “halal” goods could pass through the lifts.

FMT discovered that 20% to 30% of the hotel’s patrons were from government bodies and if Crystal Crown was to lose its halal certification, it would lose all the customers from this target group.

Quizzed whether other hotels were practising the same, Khoo said many do not because their licence was still valid and not up for renewal.

“Once their licence has lapsed, then they will have to comply with Jakim and Jais’ requirements if they are to keep their certificate,” she added.


Apply for smartphone rebate RM200

January 3rd, 2013
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1. Age 21 – 30 years

2. Salary RM3000 and below (pendapatan kasar/gross income)

3. Only one smartphone per person

4. First come first serve. Meaning about 1.5 million people will get it.

5. Only for smartphones costing below RM500. Any smartphone can!!!

6. Need to apply line together with phone, at selected providers like Celcom, Maxis, Digi, uMobile etc

7. Need to register first at SKMM website.

If you are a student, register at:

If you are working, register at:


* The govt cancelled the requirement for smartphone costing RM500 yesterday.

Earlier news:

The Government’s plan in giving out RM200 rebate for smartphones worth less than RM500 next year is to convert non-smartphone users to bridge the digital divide.

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) chairman Datuk Mohamed Sharil Mohamed Tarmizi said that the rebate is not targeted at those who want to buy expensive phones.

“We really want those with the old second generation mobile phones to migrate to a basic 3G smartphone.

“These are the people who generally want to buy a smartphone, but they cannot afford one,” he said.

He added that the rebate should also serve only those who aren’t earning much, referring to the criteria that the rebate is only applicable for those earning less than RM3,000.

“If you can buy a RM2,000 smartphone, you’re not the person we want to help. If you can afford this kind of phone, would you want a RM200 rebate?” he asked.

According to the Hand Phone Users Survey 2011 published by the MCMC, 89.6% handphone users polled earn less than RM3,000. At the same time, 87.3% handphone users surveyed are still using normal phones without smartphone capabilities.

The rebate is also only allowed for Malaysians between the ages of 21 and 30.

Sharil added that at last count, there are 20 smartphone models from seven manufacturers which cost less than RM500 in retail price, with some of them being globally renowned brands.

When checked, Samsung also offers three smartphone models priced less than RM500 including the popular Samsung Galaxy Y.

With the total allocation for the rebate placed at RM300mil, serving 1.5 million youths as announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak when tabling the 2013 budget, Sharil expected for the entire sum to be used.

He also said that there will be mechanisms put in place to ensure that people don’t abuse the system, and those interested in the rebate should pre-register themselves on their website first at


Question is, with potentially 1.5 million new users, can our telcos cope with it? More dropped lines and slow internet? As it is, my Celcom 3G is like turtle at times. At some places totally zero connection.

And remember, you need to have a data plan to support your phone. Allocate between RM50 to RM90 per month depending on what package you take.

The main reason for this promotion (IMHO) is to boost our Internet and Broadband penetration figures. I think it will help in boosting rankings at various global barometers. Secondly, with election around the corner, its a attraction for youths and politically, more potential voters are now accessible via Internet . Thirdly, it expands the market for apps builders as a million new subscribers will be coming on board.