The decision by the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) to revise and introduce a new methodology on measuring poverty line income (PLI) is timely and imperative in the future for government, policymakers, civil societies, and the public to set the right tone in the discourse regarding income inequality and poverty. This revision is much needed to reflect the current realities in Malaysia and make the figures remain relevant for decision making.
The Report of Household Income Expenditure and Basic Amenities Survey launched on 10 July 2020 revealed a few interesting figures related to poverty and household income, compared to the previous 2016 report that uses the old methodology in which the PLI increases from RM980 to RM2,208.
We learned from the report that over 400,000 households are considered living in poverty and 27,158 households are living in hardcore poverty. Thus, INSAN regards these figures are the challenge that remains as one of the priorities of the current government to address and urge to amplify the strategy to eliminate poverty in various possible channels.
We, too, envisage this revision as a starting point for government, civil societies, policymakers, and the public, in general, to revisit a debate on the minimum wage, as the current gazetted at RM1,200 is way below the poverty line.