PETALING JAYA: More organisations have come out today to question a budget guide which claimed that RM1,870 a month was sufficient for a single individual to achieve an acceptable standard of living in the Klang Valley.
The “BelanjawanKu: Expenditure Guide for Malaysians” unveiled by the government on Monday estimated that singles needed a minimum of RM1,870 to live reasonably in the city centre, including costs for basic necessities, social activities, recommended savings, loan repayments and emergencies.
This figure is for single individuals who do not own a car and rely on public transportation, while those with cars are estimated to need at least RM2,490 a month.
The guide estimates that a family needed between RM2,490 to RM6,620 a month, to attain a minimum reasonable living standard depending on the number of children they have and whether they are retired.
However, Malaysian Trade Unions Congress (MTUC) president Datuk Abdul Halim Mansor disputed the figures for single individuals, saying Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) living wage estimation of RM2,700 released last year was more representative of the current needs of consumers.
“We don’t live in a box and stay in that box all day. We are humans and we have our wants and needs. How can you say RM1,800 is enough.
“You also have to look at other responsibilities that an individual may have, like giving cash to their parents. BelanjawanKu did not take into account all this,” he told theSun.
“The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) — which commissioned the expenditure guide — can’t be telling us the amount is enough, because only the consumers know how much they need each month,” he added.
Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations (Fomca) CEO Datuk Dr Paul Selvaraj, echoed Abdul Halim’s sentiment, saying the RM1,870 quoted in BelanjawanKu needed to be looked at again considering the cost of food, transportation and renting a room would have taken up a huge portion of that figure.
“When they use public transportation, there are many instances where the closest bus or train stations are still a distance away from their homes. So they will have to depend on other transportation like Grab or taxi.
“That’s where the cost would increase for these individuals, not taking into account the cost to rent a room or house and the prices of food in KL,” he said.
Yesterday, following the unveiling of BelanjawanKu, economists questioned the the RM1,870 figure for singles, saying it fell short of estimates, and that it should have been between RM2,300 and RM2,500 instead.
Prof Tan Sri Dr Noor Azlan Ghazali had pointed out that a person spends 65% of his income on food, accommodation and transport and that if he earned RM1,870, that would come up to RM1,200, which he said was insufficient.
Prof Dr Barjoyai Bardai, meanwhile, said that RM1,870 a month would be enough for someone living outside the Klang Valley.