A recent report by The Edge Markets revealed that half of Malaysian jobholders are still earning less than RM2,000 a month despite substantial income growth since 2010
Citing data from the Department of Statistics Malaysia’s Salaries and Wages Survey Report 2016, The Edge reported that half of Malaysian wage-earners used to earn less than RM1,500 a month in 2010.
As such, the median monthly income has grown an average of 4.9% each year to achieve RM2,000 in 2016.
The dataset encapsulates 10.16 million wage-earners in the country, in which 83% are Malaysians, while the other 17% are non-citizens
While citizens of Malaysia are earning a median income of RM2,000 per month, non-citizens are only earning a median wage of RM1,200.
Collectively, the median income for all 10.16 million wage-earners in Malaysia is set at RM1,703 a month in 2016.
The report also revealed that wage-earners in Putrajaya have the highest median income in Malaysia at RM3,250, followed by Kuala Lumpur and Selangor. In contrast, Kelantan recorded the lowest median wage at RM1,200.
Here's a breakdown of median incomes by state, from highest to lowest:
1. Putrajaya: RM3,250
2. Kuala Lumpur: RM2,500
3. Selangor: RM2,362
4. Johor: RM1,950
5. Negeri Sembilan: RM1,870
6. Penang: RM1,800
7. Melaka: RM1,680
8. Perak: RM1,630
9. Perlis: RM1,630
10. Pahang: RM1,600
11. Kedah: RM1,500
12. Terengganu: RM1,500
14. Sarawak: RM1,350
15. Sabah: RM1,240
16. Kelantan: RM1,200
Other demographical factors were also included in the dataset. For one, the report disclosed that only 32% of wage-earners in the country have tertiary education, of which 51% are women.
When looked at based on education level, there is quite a substantial gap between those who've completed their tertiary education compared those who didn't.
Wage-earners with tertiary education (32%) earn a median of RM3,274, whereas those who've only completed secondary school (54%) earn half of that at RM1,600. In that vein, those who've only completed primary school (12%) earn a median of RM1,200, while those with no formal education (2%) have a median wage of RM1,000.
Meanwhile, the Chinese - who made up 20.9% of wage-earners in Malaysia - recorded the highest median income among all ethnicities at RM2,350
54.5 percent of jobholders are Bumiputera with a median income of RM1,931, followed by 6.9% of Indians (RM1,790), 0.6% of other ethnicities (RM1,575), and 17.1% non-citizens (RM1,200).
On the bright side, there's minimal disparity among wage-earners in terms of gender. 62.9% of the workforce is made up of men, who earn a median income of RM1,721, while the other 37.1% are made up of female workers earning a median of RM1,685. That means women make about RM0.98 to every man's RM1.00.
In terms of average, the national average income is higher than the median at RM2,463 a month in 2016, compared to RM1,792 in 2010. However, this just means that top income earners are earning a lot more than the bottom half.
Although those with lower incomes are seeing higher average growth in salaries from 2010 to 2016, the minimum wage has remained at RM1,000 a month for Peninsular Malaysia and RM920 for Sabah and Sarawak since it was raised in July 2016.
On that note, The Edge added that an increase in minimum wage is expected this year following an announcement by the Ministry of Human Resources last year, although the portal pointed out that it may still not be enough to help most citizens cope with rising living costs in the country.
On that note, a survey from late last year revealed that about one-third of Malaysians do not have sufficient savings to weather through a rainy day: