THE B40 SOCIO ECONOMIC GROUP ARE ONE TO BE KNOWN AS THOSE WHO EARN RM3000 AND BELOW. TODAY, THE POPULATION OF THOSE WHO FALL UNDER THE SAID CATEGORY IS INCREASING. DISCUSS WAYS IN, WHICH POLICY MAKERS CAN REDUCE THE COST OF LIVING TO ACCOMMODATE FOR A BETTER LIFE FOR THESE MALAYSIANS.
Malaysians has grown to stand at 32 million as at September 2018. 76.5% of them are urban. Income level of B40 has improved notably in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, yet are caught with the escalating cost of living from inflation and slower wage growth.
The bar of B40 income is raised to RM3000 indicating an economic growth but the question is “Has the salary growth matched the inflation rate?” The diminishing value of ringgit has eroded the purchasing power of the people due to declining disposable income. Besides fiscal and monetary reforms, government should create awareness and educate the society to be civic mindedness. Twenty-two (22) years ago, my parent’s first paycheck was RM1750 for a fresh graduate. Today, a fresh graduate average starting salary is still ranging between RM1800-RM2600. As the government increases the minimum wage to RM1050, it MUST IMPOSE that a fresh graduate’s should be above the B40 bar.
Many straight A pass outs are not able to sell themselves due to the lack in competency to speak in English. It is imperative that government prioritizes the International Language to break the barriers globally. Government should subsidize the English Centre nationwide for FREE certification in order to up skill the B40 category thus enabling them to be more sought after with a higher pay scale. As we stand on the brink of technological revolution, government MUST up skill B40 with a Technology Education Certification to protect their employability as the nation embarks towards Industrialization 4.0
Urban poverty is of the rise. The B40 SHOULD be identifiable with a ration card. Only children’s education and health care MUST be supplied for FREE to avoid over dependency and loss of productivity. Subsidized transportation and affordable shelter with maximum price set for rental should be considered.
Last but not least, Government should look into introducing Financial Education early on in school to increase financial literacy amongst the pupil and adults. This way, they can learn to differentiate and separate cost of living and cost of lifestyle and will be better equipped to be smart with their money.
KOLEJ TUNKU JAAFAR