600k households fall from M40 to B40 due to Covid-19

Only 14pct of at-risk M40 households qualify for cash aid.

PARLIAMENT | About 600,000 households from the middle-income group (M40) have fallen into the low-income group (B40) due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

This was revealed by Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economic Affairs) Eddin Syazlee Shith, who was responding to a question from Cha Kee Chin (Pakatan Harapan-Rasah) in the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday.

“The Statistics Department has estimated that 20 percent or about 600,000 households from the M40 group have dropped into the B40 group due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“At this time, the income group categorisation is still relevant, with a focus on the B40 group and the M1 group, which is the bottom 10 percent of the M40 group,” Eddin said.

The deputy minister also noted that only 14 percent of the M1 group qualify for the Bantuan Keluarga Malaysia (BKM) direct cash aid announced under Budget 2022.

This is because the household income for the M1 group ranges between RM4,850 and RM5,880 monthly, while only those earning below RM5,000 a month are eligible for the BKM aid, he said.

Eddin also said average household income as a whole has decreased 10.3 percent between the years 2019 and 2020, according to research by the Statistics Department.

However, he noted the research had maintained the 2019 poverty line.

The government will review the poverty line and income classification in 2022, along with the household income and expenditure (HIES) survey and the basic amenities (BA) survey, Eddin assured.

“The findings of the comprehensive research will be used to ensure the delivery of targeted government services which are relevant with the current socio-economic situation,” Eddin said.

MALAYSIAKINI

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