DOSM released a newly revised poverty line income (PLI) for 2019. Learn what has changed from the previous PLI in 2016.

The national poverty line income (PLI) have been revised recently by the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM), with the poverty line revised from RM908 to RM2,208 in July 2020.

This mean that over 400,000 households in the country with monthly incomes below this level are considered to be living in poverty.

Poverty is a state or condition in which a person or community lacks the financial resources and essentials for a minimum standard of living. Poverty means that the income level from employment is so low that basic human needs can’t be met. ~ Investopedia

According to Malaysia’s chief statistician, Datuk Seri Mohd Uzir Mahidin, the new figure was derived from changes in methodology which press the importance of healthy eating and quality basic needs.

How is the PLI calculated?

The DOSM receives data from various agencies to factor into their calculations, in particular data provided by the Ministry of Health.

For 2005’s methodology that determined the PLI of RM980, the calculation factored in the minimum food requirements for each household member and 106 non-food items, based on the spending patterns of the B20 group as indicated by the 2004/2005 household expenditure survey results.

For 2019’s methodology that determined the PLI of RM2,208, the calculation factored in healthy eating requirements and 146 non-food items, based on the spending patterns of the B20 group as indicated by the 2019 household expenditure survey results.

From the aspect of food items before this we looked more towards the concept of ‘minimum’, but this time we stress on the discussion with the Health Ministry – optimum and healthy and quality, and it is based on the 2017 Recommended Nutrient Intake and the Malaysian Dietary Guidelines,” – Datuk Seri Mohd Uzir Mahidin, Malaysia’s Chief Statistician.

Food items include fish, meat,cereal,rice,vegetables, milk, poultry, and bread. For non-food items including clothing and shoes, fuel and utilities, furniture, transport and communication, education, and health.

To calculate, for example, a calorie intake for a household with 3.9 people is 7,820 kcal for 2019 compared to 6,474 kcal for 4-people household in 2016. The example of the calculation is as below: