As Umno fights over the GE15 date, Malaysians suffer under inflation and poverty

(The Sun Daily) – Inflation and poverty have eclipsed the pandemic as the main things Malaysians worry about.

A majority of Malaysians are finding it difficult to manage financially, or feel they are just getting by, according to Ipsos Global Inflation Monitor.

Compared with most major economies in Asia and the West, significantly fewer Malaysians would say they are living comfortably these days, Ipsos Malaysia said in a release today.

With inflation continuing to be a concern, Malaysians expect further increases in interest rates, and the majority has settled into the idea that they will not see any increase in disposable income over the next year.

Based on a survey conducted in 28 countries via the Ipsos Online Panel system, it is found that there is steady improvement in consumer purchase intent for household or major purchases (house/ automobiles) from July 2021, but that seems to be reversing.

Purchase intent has dropped 10 points over the last two months, according to the survey.

If the new economic situation makes it necessary, Malaysians will cut their spending on socialising and holidays, and are prepared to delay larger purchases, rather than cutting the budget for necessities. This mirrors the global sentiment, Ipsos Malaysia said.

“Concern about inflation and the cost of living is now widespread, and Malaysians are feeling the squeeze on their personal finances,” Ipsos Malaysia Public Affairs Associate Director Lars Erik Lie said.

“Widely expected increase in interest rates is preparing four out of 10 Malaysians for lower disposable income in the near future, resulting in a fall in their standard of living.

“The squeeze from inflation and rising interest rates is impacting consumers’ willingness to spend – a sharp drop in Malaysian’s comfort with making both household and larger purchases indicate that they may need to prioritise what they choose to spend on in the near term.

“For many Malaysians, spending on socialising and holidays is the first to be cut with the household budget tightening. Delaying large purchases and reduced household shopping follow, before touching expenses on food or eating into savings.”