Malaysians are spending nearly a third of their disposable income on food, according to Finance Minister II Johari Abdul Ghani.
In a speech today, Johari said Malaysians spent 31.2 percent of their disposable income on food and eating out, and a further 23.9 percent on petrol, housing and utilities.
An additional 14.6 percent is spent on transport.
“With the change in lifestyle, the basket of necessary goods today includes cars, handphones, computers and Internet access.
“With the increase in the general price level, it is argued that the B40s and M40s are finding it difficult to sustain their standard of living,” he said.
Johari said this in his opening remarks at the 2017 budget focus group meeting in Putrajaya on the cost of living.
It is the first focus group discussion on the federal budget for next year, which is slated to be tabled in Parliament on Oct 21.
The ‘B40’ refers to the bottom 40 percent income earners, while the ‘M40’ refers to the middle 40 percent income earners.
Transcripts of Johari’s speech were circulated to the media. However, the discussion itself is a closed-door event.
It is understood that Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia school of economics professor Jamal Othman and Khazanah Reseach Institute research director Mohammed Abdul Khalid would be making presentations at the function prior to the start of the discussions.