Malaysia's Poverty Line Income (PLI) has been revised to RM2,208, according to the calculations based on the 2019 methodology, said the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DoSM).

Previously, the PLI was calculated according to the 2005 methodology, which benchmarked poverty at RM980, based on the basic requirements for a household to live healthily and actively.

Chief statistician Datuk Seri Dr Mohd Uzir Mahidin said the PLI revision was in accordance with current needs that emphasise optimal food intake and quality non-food basic requirements.

"Moreover, the classification of households into ten categories based on ten percentiles and Household Disposable Income that can be used as one of the preferred measures in the analysis of income distribution and the alternative in measuring poverty, namely Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) and Relative Poverty, are also available," he said.

He said this in a statement on the Household Income and Basic Amenities Survey Report and the Household Expenditure Survey Report Malaysia, 2019 released today.

Mohd Uzir said the incidence of absolute poverty improved from 7.6 per cent in 2016 to 5.6 per cent in 2019 and the hardcore poverty was at 0.4 per cent in 2019 as compared to 0.6 per cent in 2016.

In addition, the Gini coefficient increased by 0.008 index points from 0.399 (2016) to 0.407 (2019) which shows that the household income gap is widening.

However, based on disposable income, the Gini coefficient was at 0.393.

Meanwhile, he said the median income grew moderately at 3.9 per cent per year to RM5,873 in 2019, while the mean income increased by 4.2 per cent per year to RM7,901.

Seven states had median income above the national level, while three Federal states, Selangor and Johor recorded mean income higher than the national level of RM7,901.

The mean household expenditure, meanwhile, expanded by 3.9 per cent in 2019.

Mohd Uzir said the Household Expenditure Survey showed that demand for the services sector by households is increasing with the composition for services component increased to 52.1 per cent in 2019.

The patterns of household consumption expenditure remained, whereby main groups of housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels (23.6 per cent); food and non-alcoholic beverages (17.3 per cent); restaurants and hotels (13.9 per cent) and transport (13.5 per cent) made up the four groups with the highest expenditure at 68.3 per cent of total household expenditure in Malaysia in 2019.

In line with the nation development, the composition of expenditure for health and education recorded an increase of 0.2 percentage points each in 2019.

The expenditure on communication remained unchanged at 5.0 per cent, while the other main groups towards the consumer-preferred expenditure also increased.