One of the things that can bring Malaysians together is the conversation about the petrol price - almost all of us have the same love-hate sentiment towards it. 10 years ago, the petrol price used to be priced at RM1.80 for RON95 and RM2.05 for RON97. Fast forward today, the country has reverted to the weekly price float again - so no more cheering.
1. Petrol price increased by 22%
The good thing is, the government is capping the petrol price at RM2.20/litre for RON95 and diesel too (RM2.18) even when the market price increases. It’s like you can still feel the pinch, but not so much. Okay, so what about RON 97? Obviously nothing - you guys can afford an expensive car what.
Additionally, the government is also going to implement the RON95’s petrol targeted subsidies in mid-2019 for those car owners with engine capacity of 1,500cc or less and motorcycle owners with 125cc or less. It’s still unclear how this is going to be implemented and we’re kinda excited about it too. For now, we wait lor.
2. Minimum wage increased by RM100 je?New year, new minimum wage - since 1 January 2019, Malaysian minimum wage has been increased to RM1,100/month or RM5.29/hour and standardised throughout the country. Previously, the minimum monthly wage in Peninsular Malaysia is RM1,000, whereas in Sabah, Sarawak and Labuan is RM920 monthly.
Of course, there was a lot of mixed reactions. Some employees of the B40 group were happy about it because this means less burden. Some were not - “RM1,100 je?”, “With the living cost now, enough ah?”. What we can say is please hakuna your tatas.
Ever since the minimum wage scheme was first implemented back in 2013 (RM900/month in Peninsular Malaysia (RM4.33/hour), and RM800/month (RM3.85/hour) in Sabah, Sarawak, and Labuan), the minimum rate has been revised twice. The first was in 2016 and the second revision is the recent increment. Although, the amount increased isn’t as much, but there is still progress.
Plus, considering the current country’s economic situation, we believe that it’s reasonable to not make a drastic increase in wages. If the businesses can’t keep up because of the higher operation cost, this could lead to the termination of employees, which is also NOT very good for the country, innit?
3. We still can't afford a propertyBack in 2009, people were to able to own a home because it was still possible to do so. According to the National Property Information Centre (Napic), the ‘average’ price of a house in Q2 2009 was RM179,205. And, at that time, the unsold unit was at 18,538.
Fast forward today, affordability has become a major issue in the local property industry. The average price of homes as of Q3 2018 stood at RM383,648. This is higher than the maximum affordable price of an affordable house, which should be at RM282,000, given the 2016 median household income of RM5,228, as suggested by Bank Negara Malaysia. Due to this mismatch between income growth and house prices, the number of unsold units nationwide have also increased to 30,115.
That being said, THERE’S STILL HOPE! A local daily reported that as part of the ongoing public-private Home Ownership Campaign (HOC) 2019, property developers have agreed to offer at least a 10% discount on all unsold properties. On top of that, house buyers will also be exempted from stamp duties for houses priced between RM300,000 and RM1 million. Yayers!
In conjunction with the campaign, Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda) Malaysia, in partnership with the housing and local government ministry, will be holding a property expo at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (KLCC) from 1 to 3 March. Do check it out because the properties offered are priced between RM150,000 and RM2.5 million.
Before that, do use Loanstreet’s Home Loan Eligibility & Affordability Calculator to see how much you can afford and also to avoid disappointments.
4. Teh tarik kurang manis, boss!Once upon a time (specifically in 2009), sugar used to be priced at RM1.45/kg. Now, it’s priced at RM2.95/kg. That’s 103% increase! Most of us Malaysians are not happy with this because of our love for sugar - it’s in our teh tarik, sirap bandung, milo dinosaur, roti planta, cake, alcoholic beverages - the list goes on and on.
That said, it doesn’t stop us from getting that sugar fix, innit? Apparently, Malaysia has the highest rate of diabetes in Asia as of 2018. It’s reported that there are about 2.5 million adults with diabetes in Malaysia, aged 18 and above. Whoa!
On a positive note, increasing the price is not a bad move after all. Maybe that’s why the government also decided to impose the sugar tax of 40 sen/litre on sweetened beverages starting April 2019. So that y’all can learn to consume it moderately and lead a healthy lifestyle.
Can Malaysia Be Better?Looking at the 4 points highlighted above, we can conclude most of them shared the same issue - Malaysians cost of living is rising but their income can’t catch up - there’s a gap. Because of this, we feel that is fair to say that most of the average Malaysians are still struggling to make ends meet. Perhaps there should be policies and measures by the government put in place to make sure that the income is able to justify the rising living costs.
In addition to that, the government should also look into introducing financial education early on in schools. Let us tell you why this is important. According to AKPK study, 28% of adults needed loans to buy essential goods. Now, that’s a problem right there.
By being financial literate, Malaysians can be more financially responsible and able to manage their money better with the rising cost of living than just waiting to be cushioned by the subsidies all the time. Don’t you agree?