Do you know that 24 per cent of Malaysian households are struggling to make ends meet, earning less than RM1,500 a month? The figure would be higher if you define “low income” as households with a monthly income of below RM2,000. Check out this report in NST:
THE country’s poverty rate will increase from 3.7 per cent to 24.3 per cent if the poverty line is raised from the current RM800 to RM1,500 per household.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Amirsham A. Aziz said the definition of the poverty line was a household income sufficient for basic necessities. It does not include luxury items.
The basics are food, clothes and other expenses like rental, utilities, transport and communication, health, education and recreation.
“In short, the poverty line provides no room for luxuries like sending children to private schools or tuition classes, receiving treatment from private clinics or having their meals outside,” Amirsham said in reply to a question by Tan Sri Abdul Khalid Ibrahim (PKR-Bandar Tun Razak).
However, the poverty line would be updated from time to time, taking into account the prevailing inflation rate.
The government had redefined the low-income group as people earning less than RM2,000 a month.
These are the households that are feeling the brunt of oil price and electricity tariff hikes.
Contrast their household income with the remuneration of the Tenaga Nasional Bhd CEO, who earns over RM1 million per year:
Basic salary RM600,000
EPF contribution RM113,280
Car allowance RM42,000
Flexible benefits RM50,000
Figures are from TNB’s 2007 Annual Report.
That translates to RM92,273/month for running what essentially amounts to a monopolistic service. Has he succeeded in renegotiating the Power Purchase Agreements with the IPPs? Tenaga is bleeding from these PPAs, under which it has to pay the IPPs ‘capacity payments’ for electricity it doesn’t really need.
Anyway, you can see that the TNB CEO earns in one month what 24 per cent of households in Malaysia earn in five years – which includes those households with both parents working.
If you think his salary is staggering, check out how much the directors of YTL Group are paid. According to YTL’s 2007 Annual Report, the group has half a dozen executive directors earning total income of more than RM1 million a year, with the highest earning close to RM3 million.
So it’s not surprising that Malaysia has one of the highest income disparities in the region.
Enjoy your electricity tariff hike!