More than half a million middle-income group (M40) households have slipped into the bottom 40 percent (B40) category due to the economic crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob, 580,000 previously M40 households are now categorized as B40, which is representative of at least 20 per cent of the middle-income group, and the absolute poverty figure in the country rose to 8.4 per cent last year, compared to 5.6 per cent the year before, since the pandemic began last year.

"This is based on the data provided by the Department of Statistics Malaysia, which is still applied to the current Poverty Line Income (PLI), which is set at RM2,208 a month.

"The government has conducted a socio-economic impact study following the pandemic. Based on the report's estimate of household income and incidence of poverty, which was conducted by the Department of Statistics, as much as 20 per cent or about 580,000 households from M40 group have shifted to the income limit below the B40 group," the New Straits Times (NST) quoted Ismail saying in Parliament yesterday.

Ismail was responding in a parliamentary written reply to questions by S. Kesavan (PH-Sungai Siput) and Natrah Ismail (PH-Sekijang) who asked if the government planned to revise the PLI threshold to reflect the current situation.

He noted that the current PLI is set at RM2,208 per month, but it would be revised, together with the Household Income and Basic Amenities Survey in 2022, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Malaysia’s unemployment rate remained at 4.8% as of July this year.

Source: NST
Photo source: