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Nine in 10 Malaysians 'very concerned' about cost of living

Over 60% of those polled in a recent survey do not think the government is doing enough to arrest the problem.

Staff Writers
2 minute read
Customers pick up their groceries at a supermarket in Taman Kuchai, Kuala Lumpur.
Customers pick up their groceries at a supermarket in Taman Kuchai, Kuala Lumpur.

Nearly nine in 10 Malaysians are concerned about the cost of living, with over 60% saying the government has not done enough to address the matter, a recent survey by UCSI Poll Research Centre shows. 

The survey, conducted among 1,031 respondents – 59% of whom were working adults and 23% of whom were students – found that 89% were "very concerned" about the cost of living, in line with the increase in inflation rate from 2.5% in 2021 to 3.3% in 2022. 

The majority (60%) said they were the most concerned about groceries and food prices.

This was followed by utilities (45%) and fuel (43%). Healthcare costs came next (39%) followed by recreation and entertainment costs (39%), rental (34%) and public transport costs (33%). 

Forty-one percent of the respondents said they would have to spend less on entertainment, while 40% said they would cut down on their social activities. 

Thirty-seven percent meanwhile said they had to work more than they used to. 

An equal number of respondents said they were unable to put aside extra funds for savings, 35% said they were worried more often, 34% said their mental health was on the decline, 30% said they were eating an unbalanced diet, 27% said it was affecting their well-being, while 18% said they had to choose different transportation modes in order to cut costs. 

In the year ahead, 33% said they planned to lower their monthly expenses, 27% said they wanted to contribute to their retirement savings and 27% planned to create an emergency fund.

When asked which cost of living aspects the government should address first, 60% said food security and controls over the ceiling price of common food items. 

This was followed by healthcare (53%) and rental rates (52%). 

A total of 61% said they did not think the government was doing enough to address the rising cost of living.

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