Malaysia’s Revised Poverty Line Index Increased from 0.4pc to a Whopping 5.6pc

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Malaysia’s poverty line index (PLI) has increased by a whopping five percentage points to 5.6 percent or 405,441 households from 0.4 percent or 24,700 households in 2016 after Putrajaya revised its PLI calculation methodology.

In a press statement yesterday, Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said that the current national PLI is RM2,208 a month per household, which has increased by more than double from its previous PLI in 2016 which stood at RM980 per household.

“The methodology to calculate the PLI was last updated in 2005 and the PLI for 2016 had used the 2005 methodology.

Yusof Mat Isa

“Based on the new PLI, the poverty rate stands at 5.6 percent (405,441 households) in 2019. If PLI 2019 was used to calculate the poverty rate in 2016, it would have stood at 7.6 percent (525,743 households).

“This means, if we use the latest PLI calculation methodology, the poverty rate has gone down by two percentage points from 7.6 percent in 2016 to 5.6 percent in 2019.

“This shows that the poverty eradication programmes conducted by the government and supported by NGOs and the private sector has borne fruit,” said the minister in Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Economy.

The survey is conducted twice every five years by the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) in the Prime Minister’s Department. The EPU is supported by the Statistics Department, Health Ministry and a few other ministries as well as agencies.

The 2019 survey began from March 2019 until June 2020.

Among some of the changes made in the latest PLI are the changes made in the food category.

It streamlined the term “minimum” food required to “optimal minimum” food required which takes into consideration better quality food items based on the 2020 Food Pyramid and the Malaysian Diet Guide 2020.

“As an example, condensed milk has been changed to powdered milk which is healthier,” said Mustapa.

For non-food items, the new PLI took note the necessities required by the B20 group. It had identified 40 new items, increasing the number of essential items to 146 from 106 in the 2005 PLI.

It also took note that household spending patterns, the price of items and services in 2019 has changed since 2005. – MMO