Year-long survey to identify the poor folk in Malaysia

Year-long survey to identify the poor folk in Malaysia

PETALING JAYA - The Statistics Department has launched its Household Income, Expenditure and Basic Amenities (HIES) Survey 2014 involving 83,456 households nationwide.

It said in a statement that the survey would commence this month and end in December, and will cover households staying in private living quarters.

"The main objectives of the survey are to collect information on income and expenditure distribution patterns of households, identify the poverty groups and identify the accessibility of basic amenities by households in Malaysia," it said, adding that the findings would also contribute to the 11th Malaysia Plan.

The survey comes after Malaysians were rocked by subsidy rationalisations last year, namely the removal of the sugar subsidy and reduction in fuel subsidy, causing prices of RON 95 petrol and diesel to rise.

The Government also announced a revision for the average electricity tariffs, with close to 15 per cent increase in Peninsular Malaysia to 38.53 sen/kWh from 33.54sen/kWh effective yesterday.

For Sabah and Labuan, the average tariff was hiked up 5 sen/kWh (16.9 per cent) to 34.52 sen/kWh from 29.52 sen/kWh.

According to Budget 2014, the Government plans to scale back subsidies to RM39.4bil (S$15.1 billion) from RM47bil last year, and more rounds of subsidy rationalisation, including a possible revision of toll rates, are expected this year.

The HIES survey, last conducted in 2009, will be done via face-to-face interviews where trained staff will collect information on the various households' demographics, income, expenditure and basic amenities.

The department also conducted a Household Income Survey in 2012, which revealed that the mean monthly household income was RM5,000 in 2012 compared to RM4,025 in 2009.

The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) said the survey could help highlight the plight of Malaysian workers and ensure that government help reached the right targets.

"From the feedback we've gathered both husband and wife have to work in many families to make ends meet. Many workers have to work excessive overtime as well to cover their expenses. This leads some of them to neglect their families and end up creating social problems," said the congress' deputy secretary-general and former vice-president A. Balasubramaniam.

Despite economists' prediction that Malaysians will be able to ride out the challenges of rising costs if they plan their budget, workers who are part of the low-income group will suffer badly over the next few years, said Balasubramaniam.

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