Mounting household debt in Malaysia


The other day, I was at the ATM when I noticed a middle-aged couple in front of me in the queue. They tried a few times to withdraw funds. As I waited a few minutes, I overheard them saying they were trying to withdraw RM20, but the machine responded “insufficient funds”. They looked stressed and worried.

All is not well among Malaysians. The level of household debt has been rising over the years at the rate of 11.1 per cent annually.

It climbed to RM560bn by the end of August 2010 and that pushed up the household debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio from 66.7 per cent in 2004 to around 76 per cent in 2009. That ratio is the highest level in Asia, apart from Japan. And mind you, those household debt figures probably don’t include hidden borrowings taken out from the notorious alongs (illegal money lenders)! Full article in Aliran’s ‘Thinking Allowed’ section here.

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Sorry Anil I have to put this up now, as some people continue to insult the Japanese even after such a terrible catastrophe has hit them: First Ultraman & Berita Harian, and now this was tweeted by Tain Chua from Parliament:
“Pasir Mas MP Ibrahim Ali, Kulim Bandar Baru MP Zul Nordin insulted Msia & PM motion by insinuating that natural disaster was caused by sodomy.”


BTW, Singapore’s Search & Rescue Team obtained immediate approval from the Japanese and was in Japan by Sunday March 13, 4 days later.
Was told the 1st team from World Vision was in or on the way to Japan on the same day.
SAR Teams from Europe were in within 24 hours.
Sri Lankan doctors were also in almost immediately.
Sad to see our …. stepping somebody that is down and out


Why Malaysian SMART Team got the thumbs down from the Japanese?
… And that’s how we get fried for our nincompoop brain-comments on other more intelligent, common sensed and culturally tolerant society like Japan.
Well, so much for being SMART!
By the way, tell Tun Apa Nama his Look East Policy is a sham….


BTW, Berita Harian should apologize to the Japanese people with this song:
I Started A Joke

Gerakan K

Anil, I suggest that you pin this article so that more people will be able to discuss it. The subject of debt, low income, poverty and income parity for Malaysians rarely being discussed.

I also like to hear what are the Pakatan solutions to these problems.


BN/Gelakan bankrupt of Ideas? or you want to shoot down anything proposed by PR. Or are you really genuine and concerned about this issue, Gerakan K?

Gerakan K

If PR can solve these problems, sure they will win the GE.

But somehow PR even cannot propose something sensible for the problems mention.

Abolish ISA, abolish tolls, changes to oil royalty, free wifi, ban lottery, confiscate beers can’t solve these problems.


Mr. Gerakan K,

Dont forget your party once called the Alliance a “corrupt” party. Then you went back to the fold and your boss Koh Tsu Koon became a bonafide bag carrier.


The main concern of elderly folks are medical.
Cost of medicine remains high and the same although the exchange rate is no longer at rm3.8 per 1US$.
Younger couples are concerned about infant milk that cost a bomb.
And recently tnb threaten to increase electricity tariff and there will be an increase premium for vehicle insurance as well.
Cost for “balik kampong” increased substantially too.
It is really not looking well at all.
The common working class are losing out fast.
And the umno govt is still insisting on GST/VAT .


BN should just go ahead and declare almost the entire 10 million working population as bankrupt under current insolvency rules…. Already almost close to a million are legally bankrupt under Malaysia’s outdated bankruptc rules…. Add to that the number living below the poverty line, the number of students not repaying or unable to pay their study loans….add to this all those who cant pay their housing loans, car loans, credit card, etc… Almost all the working population should already be blaclisted under Nor Mohamed Yaacob’s crony company CTOS by now… Thanks to BN’s misrule…almost every Malaysian is close to, if… Read more »


The main problem with Malaysia is per capita income is growing too slowly over the years . A fresh graduate in the early 70s can get about RM 800 per month, a Toyota Corolla or Datsun 130Y costs about RM 6,000 and a single storey terrace house costs about RM 10,000 in a medium size town. A fresh graduate would have to work about 20 months for these two purchases. But today a fresh graduate may get pay of about RM 2,000 but the cheapest crappy car like Potong car costs about RM 36,000 and a single storey terrace house… Read more »


Trust BN for ‘temporary inconveniece’ as come 2020 we are promised to be a high income nation through those myriad 1malaysia transformation programs.

Otherwise, exercise your vote for change in the next GE if you do not want permanent damage is done to us.

Phua Kai Lit

Nowadays, for many young couples who are university graduates, both the husband and the wife hold outside jobs. Yet many still have problems because of the high cost of living in areas such as the Klang Valley.

Keith Rozario

Most of the time it’s the really hard workers that suffer the most. Gardeners and cleaners who work 12-16 hour shifts, hardly seeing their children competing with foreigners that cost 1/2 the price. Simply because the rich in this country are too greedy to pay a person a decent salary for an honest days work. Very few Malaysians are willing to accept a minimum wage since it doesn’t affect them, and even fewer are willing to give up their luxuries so others can have their necessities. To believe that all the poor are lazy is to believe a myth. I… Read more »


Hi Keith Rozario, you really make my day than my kopi-O kau kau @ my favorite kopitiam. You see. Those lazy, incompetent gravy train road track sleepers aren’t concerned about price hikes, job losses, prejudices in civil service recruitment, menial jobs taken by foreigners, greedy towkays whose primary concern is to be the next Robert Kuok and hard luck if you are stuck in the middle class mud hole. What they have gotten from past gravy trains is enough to afford them a life-time of sleeping in perpetual indifference to the sweating men in the streets. Their ‘cash cows’ or… Read more »

Gerakan K

Got only RM800 salary and want: 1) marry somebody 2) have kids 3) have car There are 2 fundamental problems with you statement. First, why only RM800 but not RM2000 or more ??? Secondly, why you are so poor but want many things ??? Why RM800 ??? Lack of education, skill or disability problem ??? Why not study hard during school time and go dating/sports instead ??? Can you blame others when you graduated in religious study and wanted to be hired in business sectors that require relevant skills ??? Can you blame others when you only speak bahasa ???… Read more »

Andrew I

Stop your racist and sexist comment.

All you know is apple polishing. Stick to what you’re good at.

Can you blame others for thumbing you down? I know you’ve tried, whimpering something about being oppressed.

Phua Kai Lit

Gerakan K would probably recommend
Zakaria Derios as a role model for the poor of Malaysia.




Wait till after the next GE! If UMNOsaja ( don’t talk about MCA/MIC/ impotent Gerakan/ and all those political parties in East Malaysia) they are there just to make up the numbers and to cari makan. If UMNOsaja wins with a handsome majority, and with the introduction of the GST, will there be a middle class? Coupled with the tens of thousands of unemployable graduates that are being churned out from the local universities, just how many can the Government absorb? Even GLCs do not want them, perhaps Gerakan/MCA/MIC may want them to man their offices. Even UMNOsaja Tak Nak!… Read more »

Gerakan K

Don’t blame others if you are lazy to work and thus no money in your pocket.

Don’t blame others if you do not how to GROW money.

Don’t blame others if you in heavy debt because of irresponsible spending and gambling.

You do blame PAS if you can not buy lottery in Kelantan.

Andrew I

Ah, you’re back, ow-ta man, with your usual warped logic.

Actually, the Kelantan Chinese, not the MCA branch, will tell you that they understand why gambling outlets are banned in Kelantan. Who will patronize them if the majority are Muslims? By the extension, who will buy lottery tickets? They will also tell you not to believe the notion peddled by the msm that the Chinese are being oppressed there. They have their kopitiams serving alcohol and pork.

In conclusion, if everyone was a leech like you, I’m quite sure we wouldn’t have poor people around.

Gerakan K

Andrew I, I don’t know about you. Whether you are a paid commentator I don’t know. But from what I know is that for years people in Kelantan have to pay more if they wanted to buy 4d toto and other legalised gaming. Why ??? People are paying to middleman (eg taxi drivers) and that middleman is going to Terengganu to buy the numbers. So that middleman charge 50 cents commision for petrol money for every RM1 bet. Thus the notion that people in Kelantan don’t gamble is utter nonsense or you purposely do it to defend the banning decision.… Read more »

Andrew I

‘Also stop commenting about buying, selling, and eating pork in that place. Obviously you never been there personally or you purposely just say it to defend your *team*. I have to carefully pick the nice word in order to avoid being censored.’ Nice try to avoid the fact that you can have pork dishes in Kelantan’s Chinese kopitiams. Unlike you, I put my money where my mouth is. I’ve experienced it first hand, with cuti-cuti Malaysia. Why don’t you go and see for yourself, instead of believing everything your back door minister tells you? It’s not as dangerous as going… Read more »

Andrew I

p.s. Am I a paid commentator? Why? Because I like you so much? No, your idiocy and ignorance is sufficient payment.

If I were your employer, I would have sacked you last year, because bodeking really turns me off. I’m not sure about the backdoor whatever.

Gerakan K

Andrew I,

it is pathetic that your knowledge, experience and understanding of Kelantan only limited by tourist hot spots.

That fact alone already disqualified you from any future discussion of Kelantan affairs.

My assumption is correct that you don’t know a thing about Kelantan.

Andrew I

You can assume what you like, but given your penchant for evading points raised, I would say you are the one who knows nuts about Kelantan. Which tourist hot spots are you referring to? The kopitiams or the temples?

Andrew I

Also, stop ridiculing the cuti-cuti Malaysia program. It’s about getting to know your country more.


And he never learns…….


Nobody is blaming any except those who wants to be a wannabe and then get the benefits that were paid for by the the people.


In fact, i have seen more people with RM100. Not shoving my nose or what. They are taking way to long to decide withdrawal.

With our purchasing power and government seemingly endless absorption of local graduate with GLC in cahoot……it will come to a point of “diminishing return”.

When that point come… all hell will break lose.

Then they will conveniently trot out some clueless scapegoat or even write a memoirs of selective darwinism theory. Then the slate is clean.

Those in charge are never wrong, you know. Its always someone else.


Send all your bills to the corrupted UMNO regime, who were the cause of your miseries Sad with your sufferings you still put these (people) back to power. Move to Selangor, at least you will get free water!


Anil, I have 1 full time job and 2 part-time jobs. By Malaysian standards I earn a very decent income. Without the other 2 jobs it will be tight esp having to save for children’s education as we don’t get a free ride to & thru Univ. Just see the toll queues in Klang Valley. Cars lined up upto 500m long every day paying cash & not having Touch & Go. Check the petrol stations. Many pay cash – asked a few why not card, – response I get is “sudah max out” The rich are getting richer, but the… Read more »


Yes if you continue to vote in this PM & UMNO you will continue to be indebted. UMNO and BN will continue to squeeze you until you run dry. Under the PM, Najib Inflation will be running upward at full speed. Don`t say you have not been warned. Example : Do we need a 100 storey building. The private sector can do it.

Yes you can do it and at the next Sarawak election.

Richie Hee

Here are the root causes to the problem: 1) The real poor people did not benefit from the present government – blame it on the failure of NEP that has only enrich the cronies (this has been explained by many entries). 2) Spending within your means on easy credit – blame it on poor financial planning, failure to do budgeting, failure to differentiate between wants and needs, easily influenced by advertisements, constantly upgrade things to keep up (cars, mobile phones, gadgets, big screen tvs). 3) Too many kids due to poor family planning 4) Living in urban cities with a… Read more »


Good that Anil HIGHLIGHT RM20 is a big bullcart. So why people complain about LGE Government giving money to Penangites?

Bowen Liu

Basically if you cannot afford things, then curb your desire and focus on needs rather than wants. Live within your means.

The younger generation needs to get good education and competency to get a high-paying job in order to maintain the lifestyle of constantly upgrading to the latest gadgets.

Of course the above would not apply if you have rich parents or are well-connected with political cronies.

Jeremy Soong

Latest ruling: Need to be 21 with min annual income of RM24K to qualify for a credit card.


This video also sheds some light to the debt problem among the Malaysians: