KUALA LUMPUR: Half of Malaysian households have a monthly income of less than RM3,000.
This was revealed in the 2007 household income and facilities census by the Department of Statistics Malaysia. Of the 5.8 million households in the country, 8.6% have an income below RM1,000, 29.4% had between RM1,000 and RM2,000, while 19.8% earned between RM2,001 and RM3,000.
Answering a question in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Tan Sri Amirsham Abdul Aziz said 12.9% of the households earned between RM3,001 and RM4,000 and 8.6% between RM4,001 and RM5,000.
"Around 15.8% of the households have an income of between RM5,001 and RM10,000 and 4.9% have an income of RM10,000 and above," he said in reply to Dr Michael Jeyakumar Devaraj (Sungai Siput-PKR).
Amirsham brushed aside a suggestion by Jeyakumar in a supplementary question that the government only focused on the income disparity between racial groups instead of the overall income disparity in the society under the Ninth Malaysia Plan (9MP) review.
"I have said this in the last parliament session: one of the focus areas for the government is to reduce the incidence of poverty among all racial groups as well as in the urban and rural areas.
"The income gap between the urban and rural areas has been narrowed. We have the same target under the 9MP which is to further reduce the income gap between the rural and urban areas," he said.
In reply to another supplementary question from Dr Mohd Puad Zarkashi (Batu Pahat-BN), Amirsham said the policies and strategies under the 9MP were aimed at upgrading the economic status of Malaysians.
"We also have strategies under the 9MP to provide opportunities to racial groups which have been sidelined so that their income levels will be increased as well," he added.