Monday, September 25, 2006
posted by PabloPabla at 4:39 pm

One of the hottest topics recently has been the low wages of our police force, notably the low-ranking officers. It was revealed by the Inspector-General of Police recently that some of his lower-ranked men earn as little as RM650.00 per month. With the rising inflation, how is a policeman going to survive on RM650.00 per month especially in a big city like Kuala Lumpur?

Anyway, this post is not on policemen per se but salary in general. I wonder what is the starting pay for a fresh undergraduate these days... When I started working in an insurance company in 1998 armed with a Bachelor of Law (LL.B) Degree, my salary was RM1,750.00. That was 8 years ago.

8 years ago, the price of fuel per litre was not RM1.92. I think the price of a teh ais was less than RM1.20 and the price of a plate of nasi campur (1 meat plus 2 vegetable) costs in the region of RM3.50. Prices for a medium-cost double storey link house in say, Bandar Kinrara was probably less than RM300,000.00. (You got to help me here with exact figures, if you can recall). I was told by a church friend that when he started work in 1981 fresh from university, his starting pay was RM1,400.00. And prices of essential goods were much lower then.

Some Malaysians are more fortunate than others. They can continue to stay at their parent's home and need not worry about housing instalments. Likewise those who are blessed with parents who purchase them a car (even 2nd hand will do). But for the average Malaysian, I believe they got to start from scratch and save money before they can afford to buy a car or even a house. As a guide, a housing loan amounting to RM90,000.00 works out to RM850.00 thereabouts in monthly instalment every month for a period of about 15 years. A sizable chunk of salary therefore goes out the pocket every month before it even sits in the bank account to earn whatever measly interest that is being offered.

Are Malaysians having lesser spending power nowadays? Are you feeling the pinch?

I am rather curious, taking the price of say, an McDonald's Value Meal at RM9.00 and compare it with the starting pay of a fresh graduate, I wonder what is the average price of a McDonald's Value Meal out of Malaysia and the starting pay of fresh graduates there?

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At 5:25 pm, Anonymous ShaolinTiger

Well inputs from figures I'm aware of.

Starting fresh grad salary in Malaysia is around RM2000-2400 now depending if 2:2, 2:1 or 1st class degree and what kind of degree.

In UK A happy meal costs 4.88 pounds and fresh grad salary is about 18,000 pounds per year.

Petrol costs about 1 pound per litre now, a small 3 bedroom terrace house will cost about about 120,000 pounds to buy and a reasonable second hand car about 4000 pounds.

Rent for a flat/appt would be about 450 pounds a month.


At 5:36 pm, Blogger PabloPabla

shaolintiger : Looks like you'll have more spending power living in the UK. I don't think we can get a reasonable second hand car here for RM4,000.00 (dollar for dollar speaking) unless you bargain for that Proton Tiara or 25 year old Daihatsu Charade :P


At 7:06 pm, Anonymous Anonymous

I'll like to revise those figures from the UK.

Fresh grad salary is about 18,000? Depends on your degree subject, degree class and of course... the location. If London, that would sound reasonable for an accounting grad.

small 3 bedroom terrace house cost about 120,000? Not in London, mate. You won't even get a smelly 2 bedroom apartment with that.

And the reason why people house share in London? Because to rent a flat/appt don't cost about 450 pounds a month. Heck, my brother in Nottingham pays around 300 pounds a month for a 6 bedroom house share (and no, it's not a luxury house)


At 7:17 pm, Anonymous julthefool

The Economist does a 'Big Mac Index' that may be of some use.


At 9:05 pm, Blogger Wuching

dun worry about the police, they have plenty of 'support' from the general public!


At 11:53 am, Blogger PabloPabla

anon : U can only get a room in KL for about RM300 - RM450. Unless you wanna rent an apartment in Bukit Beruntung for that price. What I am trying to say is that the salary earned in KL / Malaysia does not go a long way considering the price of goods here.

julthefool : Where's the index?

wuching : The police will be taken cared of. I am more concerned about the overall cost of living in Malaysia and the consumer spending power. How about down under? Share some figures, will ya?>


At 2:22 am, Blogger David

In New Zealand a new arts graduate earns about $38K/year (min. wage is $10/hr) A Big Mac costs $7.50 and price of petrol is $1.56/litre. A 3-brm detached house cost $400K in Auckland (we do not use terrace houses here!) and a new car $30K (1.6 litre); but kiwi gold is selling at 45 cents/kg and 99 cents will buy a large cabbage...
We have no tolls on any of our roads!


At 9:00 am, Blogger Wuching

same here lah, rich getting richer & poor getting poorer!


At 4:14 pm, Blogger PabloPabla

david : Looks like a NZ grad can has more spending power compared to M'sia.

wuching : Are you sure u r not in bolehland?


At 3:51 am, Anonymous ShaolinTiger

Anonymous..if you are talking about London you are not talking about UK in general, London has a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT cost of living from the rest of the country, the rest is within certain limits, London is way outside that, London has higher salaries, fresh grad salary in London is more like 22,000 not 18,000 for IT/Engineering grads anyway.

If you actually knew anything about UK you'd know that ;)

During my gap year in London I got 15,000 which at the time was a good graduate salary outside London..