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Support job transition, facilitate career advancement

The importance of a skilled workforce has been well established and every year, the government sets aside substantial investments to fund a range of training programmes and institutions, as covered in our primer. But this supply-driven approach needs to be complemented by an understanding of barriers faced by low-income workers and school leavers in accessing these opportunities. This editorial looks at Malaysia’s skills development policies and suggests the need for a new policy direction.

Current approach and policy gap

Traditionally, the government plays the role of training provider in the skills development system e.g. they build infrastructures and invest public funds to expand the range of course programmes and training institutions. There were 662 public training institutions in Malaysia recorded in December 2020, including 22 state-administered institutions.

In terms of programmes, the government’s initiatives range from targeted programmes like Place and Train for school leavers and the unemployed, and the Micro Connector Programme for B40 youths and women, to varying versions of ‘one-stop’ platforms, such as MDEC’s Digital Skills Training Directory, HRD Corp’s Upskill Malaysia, HRD Corp’s e-Latih, and, more recently, MOE-HRD Corp’s Microcredential Initiative.

Despite heavy investments on infrastructure and funds to accelerate skills development, the returns have been less than satisfactory. Accessibility remains an issue faced by those who want to reskill and upskill. Our 2020 survey on non-graduate delivery riders revealed that more than half of those interested in reskilling do not know where or how to access the training courses. Respondents also reported facing a lack of support to identify skills courses best suited to their needs and preferences. They would like to receive career advice and guidance, but there are few offerings on the ground.

Simply adding more programmes and institutions does not help workers to overcome access barriers. What they need are tools to support and facilitate their ability to plan their careers and navigate the skills development system. 

From training provider to career facilitator

Making skills development accessible goes beyond providing training programmes. What we have found in our research, which is echoed by a report from Brookfield Institute, is that workers require support for job transitions. In contemporary society where jobs are becoming more precarious, rapid and frequent career transition can be expected to be increasingly common.

Is there a significant difference between a training provider and a career facilitator? We argue that they emphasize distinct policy goals: the former seeks to ensure adequate supply of training avenues and resources, while the latter focuses on helping workers to identify appropriate opportunities and provide the necessary support to assist them in realizing those opportunities.

As a career facilitator, the government can implement measures such as information organisation, course curation, simpler financial aid options, and career counseling and guidance. This shift in policy perspective helps workers overcome access barriers at two levels: firstly, by helping them to identify career or job transition opportunities relevant to their interests, needs and preferences. Secondly, by enhancing their chances to realize those opportunities via recommending appropriate reskilling or apprenticeship programs, together with supportive measures such as income replacement stipends.

Countries such as Singapore, Canada, the United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, and the United States have implemented examples of such policy measures. The figure below describes a few policy interventions that could be game-changers for Malaysia’s workers, especially workers from lower-income bands (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Facilitative Skills Development Policy Interventions

Conclusion

Frequent and rapid job transition is expected to be more common in contemporary Malaysian society. Providing reskilling courses is only one aspect of skills development, and the government can help workers overcome accessibility barriers through policy innovations such as those outlined above.

At the time of writing, skill-related underemployment has become a looming labour market concern in Malaysia. The Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) reported that more than one-third of tertiary-educated employed persons work in semi-skilled and low-skilled jobs in the first quarter of 2022, as they lack the skills needed to fill the high-skilled positions. Many non-graduates, (and graduates too) have turned to informal gig work for livelihood, as the formal jobs available do not pay enough to make ends meet.

To ensure social mobility for all in this era, policymakers must go above and beyond to support everyone to access available reskilling opportunities, particularly those from less privileged backgrounds. We call on policymakers to begin addressing accessibility barriers by embracing the role of career facilitators for workers in need.

Email us your views or suggestions at editorial@centre.my

#GE15MANIFESTO: After EPF withdrawals, time to safeguard retirement for Malaysians

Like others across the world, the Malaysian government scrambled to put together a response to the economic fallout brought about by the spread of COVID-19. In addition to a series of direct cash transfers and financial incentive programmes, EPF withdrawals, initially seen as a one-off response to help people deal with cash flow problems, became an integral measure to deal with the economic crisis.

In total, the country has seen four rounds of withdrawals. And during each round, experts – as well as the EPF itself – warned that the measure could accelerate a retirement crisis in Malaysia. Such concern is compounded by the fact that the current social security framework is unable to support the needs of the Malaysian population, which is predicted to become an ageing society in less than 9 years.

What then, we ask, are those who will be vying for public office in the coming 15th General Election planning to do to mitigate the impending crisis? What policy ideas, if any, can we expect in their manifestos to support the life in retirement of millions of Malaysians who have depleted their savings?

The cost of EPF withdrawals

While the EPF withdrawals have been a lifeline for some citizens running short on cash, they were unprecedented measures with long-term implications. For the first three rounds of withdrawals, the Ministry of Finance (MoF) reported that more than half (58%) of EPF members under the age of 55 years old withdrew their money, amounting to RM 101 billion.1 MoF also revealed that 70% of EPF members aged 55 and below do not have sufficient funds to retire above the poverty level. These figures are likely to have worsened after the fourth withdrawal.

On an individual level, we estimate that an average EPF member who fully utilised all four withdrawal opportunities (assuming that they withdrew the maximum amount allowed in each round) had cumulatively withdrawn anywhere between RM 31,000 to RM 81,000 of their retirement savings (see table 1). 

Table 1: Estimate of cumulative EPF withdrawals per person 

To put these numbers into perspective, as of December 2020, the median savings of EPF members under 55 years old is RM 18,785 while for those on the cusp of retirement (age group 50-54 years old), the median savings is RM 39,585. Even when we take the conservative estimate (RM 31,000) for cumulative withdrawal, the four withdrawals have wiped out at least 77% of an average EPF member’s savings. 

Assuming that the average EPF member earns the national median salary of RM2,062, saves 10% of her monthly salary and receives employers’ contribution of 12-13%, it would take approximately 6 years to replenish her retirement savings back to pre-2020 levels. For workers earning the minimum wage (RM1,500), it would take 8 years. It would take even longer to replenish that savings for those who are self-employed, informal workers, and other groups who are not receiving, or will no longer receive, employers’ contribution. That is precisely why withdrawals hit those earning low pay the most : the less you earn, the longer you have to work to make up for the depleted amounts.

1 In a written reply in the Dewan Rakyat, the Ministry of Finance also said that out of the total members under the age of 55, as at December 31, 2021, some 6.1 million members or 48% have savings balance of less than RM10,000 in their EPF accounts, which equivalent to a retirement income of less than RM42 a month for 20 years.

For others who also allowed early pension withdrawals, similar policy dilemmas

Early access to retirement savings to deal with COVID is not a unique occurrence to Malaysia. A number of countries have done it to cope with the economic shock brought about by the pandemic, including Australia, the United States, Chile, Peru, South Africa, and Portugal. 

While there are variations in how the countries designed their withdrawal policies, the adverse impacts of their implementation were well forewarned by their critics; including, among others, the lack of security in old age, reduced returns from annuities from investment of the retirement funds, as well as retirement inequality. Studies in some of those countries conducted in the past 1-2 years, explaining the consequences of depleting people’s retirement savings prematurely, can serve as an indication of things to come in Malaysia, if appropriate measures are not taken to mitigate the impact of the EPF withdrawals.

In Australia, where two rounds of superannuation withdrawals of up to AUD20,000 were approved by the Federal Government in 2020, a study found that most withdrawers thought about the decision for less than a week and did not fully understand the long-term consequences of their choice. The fault lies in a very low-friction withdrawal process (similar to Malaysia’s) which reduced the physical and mental load of making an application, leading to a massive shift in people’s mindset regarding access to their retirement savings – what used to be almost unthinkable now enjoys the government’s endorsement. If scenes of political leaders pushing and claiming credit for the approval of the latest round of the EPF withdrawal in Malaysia were anything to go by, the country’s policymakers have their work cut out to address any signs of the normalisation of dipping into retirement funds to deal with future crises.

Meanwhile, in Chile, where three early pension withdrawals have been allowed by the government, researchers estimate that for a 10% release, each dollar prematurely withdrawn brings losses of 1.59 dollars in future retirement savings and reduces monthly pension benefits by 7.26%. They argue that early access raises income inadequacy and inequality in retirement, and that government expenditure will have to be increased to counteract these effects for retirees. In Malaysia, similar concerns arise as B40 and M40 groups have a higher rate of withdrawals compared to the T20 group, which means that  the former’s post-retirement financial wellbeing is at a greater risk than the latter’s.

Time to anticipate and mitigate

We have discussed above, drawing lessons from elsewhere, some of the potential consequences of the early EPF withdrawals to Malaysia. There will no doubt be more, and so we believe that now is the time to convene a serious conversation about what measures can be taken to mitigate them. And we believe that since GE15 is just around the corner, the conversation should be driven by those who will be seeking to govern the country. 

To contribute to (and perhaps to help kickstart) their deliberation, we offer four broad recommendations as food for thought:

Recommendation 1: Adapting to an ageing workforce

As we transition to become an ageing society, consider ways to incentivise and support workers to extend their working lives. This may include phased retirement arrangements, flexible retirement rather than a strictly chronological one, and a framework for healthy pathways to retirement (HPTR). It is crucial that these policy instruments not only facilitate longer working lives, but also benefit people’s life in retirement when it eventually comes. 

Recommendation 2: Strengthening the country’s social protection framework

To ensure that all Malaysians will be protected from future economic shocks, political parties ought to work towards proposing measures to expand social protection in the country. This means investment in social infrastructure and services including care services, elderly housing, healthcare, and career support to create age-friendly societies. We also need to broaden coverage to those who are self-employed and in informal work.

Recommendation 3: Close monitoring of impact of early withdrawals

Political parties ought to propose mechanisms to monitor and assess the long-term impacts of retirement savings’ depletion. For example, there should be studies on whether participants who withdrew their savings have subsequently begun to replenish their retirement accounts, and longitudinal monitoring of the financial wellbeing of EPF members below a certain minimum amount of savings. The government through the Social Protection Council (MySPC) would be wise to collaborate with academics, think tanks, and researchers to conduct a series of studies on this. Funding, grants, and access to databases such as PDPS and EPF memberships would be welcome to meet this objective.

Recommendation 4: Incentivising gradual disbursement of retirement savings 

Alongside safeguarding the people’s savings from being further used for purposes other than their retirement, parties can consider advocating for a more gradual disbursement of retirement savings, though its mechanism needs to be fair to the EPF members. Given that 71% of members aged 55–60 opt for lump-sum withdrawals of their pension savings upon retirement and 50% exhaust their savings within five years, it might be timely to incentivise staggered withdrawals

Recommendation 5: Promoting social pension for those most in need

In contrast to EPF which is a private retirement scheme based on defined-contribution, social pensions are flat rate benefits (which can be targeted or universal) financed out of general revenues. Parties can use this instrument to reduce poverty and secure a minimum income for the elderly. One way to do this in Malaysia is to greatly expand the coverage of the existing Bantuan Warga Emas which provides a monthly cash payment of RM500 to the elderly who are living below the poverty line. Social pensions have been demonstrated to be effective in reducing poverty and improving health among older people in China, Vietnam and the Philippines

Concluding thoughts

As only 3% of its members can afford to retire according to EPF, there is a great deal of uncertainty affecting the long-run financial security of Malaysians in retirement. Understanding the root causes of disparities in retirement savings and retirement security is important in order to design policies for the future. We believe that demonstrating such understanding and offering such policy ideas will propel those aspiring to get elected to the forefront of the country’s political discourse in the runup to GE15.

* This article first appeared in the July 18 – July 24 2022 edition of The Edge Malaysia Weekly.

Email us your views or suggestions at editorial@centre.my

Mencari Ruang Sewa, Bahagian 1

Kemampuan pemilikan rumah merupakan sebuah isu yang sentiasa dihadapi warga Malaysia, terutamanya golongan belia. Permasalahan ini telah kerap dibincangkan, antaranya dalam sebuah primer terbitan The Centre tahun lepas. Satu fakta penting yang patut diulangi di sini ialah peningkatan jurang antara harga rumah median dan pendapatan tahunan median isi rumah – yang telah mengganda sebanyak hampir tiga kali dari tahun 2002 hingga 2019. 

Namun begitu, kerajaan Malaysia alih-alih terus menggalakkan pemilikan rumah. Kebanyakan dasar berkaitan perumahan – daripada subsidi pinjaman rumah kepada projek berskala besar biayaan kerajaan seperti PR1MA – bertindak meningkatkan penawaran rumah untuk dijual dan memudahkan pemilikannya, lebih-lebih lagi bagi generasi muda. 

Walaupun begitu, dengan masalah gaji stagnan yang berleluasa dan paras hutang isi rumah yang telah meningkat, wajarkah pemilikan rumah masih dijadikan tumpuan utama dasar perumahan kerajaan? Atau haruskah lebih banyak tumpuan dasar diberikan kepada golongan yang tidak mampu membeli rumah (mereka yang hanya mampu menyewa) seperti Akta Sewaan Kediaman yang telah dicadangkan beberapa tahun ini? Dan mungkinkah terdapat peralihan dalam aspirasi perumahan ke arah menyewa secara jangka panjang terutamanya dalam kalangan belia sekiranya lebih banyak insentif dan perlindungan penyewaan diperkenalkan? 

Persoalan-persoalan inilah yang tersemat dalam fikiran kami sewaktu kami memulakan siri kajian baharu ini untuk mendalami aspirasi perumahan anak muda Malaysia. Kami ingin memahami faktor penolak dan penarik yang berkait dengan penyewaan dan pemilikan rumah. Kami juga berhasrat untuk mengesyorkan dasar-dasar yang sepadan dengan pembentukan sebuah masyarakat adil merangkumi kedua-dua golongan penyewa dan pemilik rumah. 

Dalam keluaran pertama siri kajian ini, kami meneliti perbezaan lanskap antara pemilikan dan penyewaan rumah di Malaysia, dan membentangkan dapatan daripada sebuah tinjauan awal berkenaan aspirasi perumahan. 

Pemilikan rumah dan dasar perumahan di Malaysia

Pemilikan rumah merupakan mod lazim perumahan di Malaysia dan juga di banyak negara lain. Survei Pendapatan Isi Rumah dan Kemudahan Asas 2019 menunjukkan bahawa kadar pemilikan rumah di Malaysia agak tinggi, secara relatif, dan telah meningkat, meskipun secara perlahan, dari 72.5% pada 2010 ke 76.3% pada 2016, dan 76.9% pada 2019. 

Dalam konteks Asia Tenggara, kadar pemilikan rumah di Malaysia bukanlah sesuatu yang aneh; hanya Filipina mempunyai kadar pemilikan yang lebih rendah iaitu 64.1% (2019). Jiran-jiran ASEAN yang lain seterusnya mempunyai kadar yang lebih tinggi seperti Thailand (77.4%, 2010), Indonesia (81.1%, 2021), Myanmar (85.5%, 2014), Vietnam (88.1%, 2019) dan Singapore (88.9%, 2020).

Kadar pemilikan rumah di Malaysia dan negara-negara ASEAN boleh dianggap tinggi berbanding negara-negara maju seperti Amerika Syarikat (65.5%, 2021), United Kingdom (65.2%, 2018), Jepun (61.2%, 2018), Jerman (50.4%, 2020), dan Perancis (64.0%, 2020). Di Switzerland, kadar pemilikan rumah hanyalah 42.3% pada tahun 2020!

Sejak tahun 1960-an, kerajaan telah menumpukan perhatian ke arah menyediakan tempat tinggal bagi isi rumah berpendapatan rendah terutamanya yang menetap di kawasan bandar. Perumahan kos rendah biayaan awam seperti Projek Perumahan Rakyat (PPR) membenarkan isi rumah-isi rumah berpendapatan rendah untuk menyewa atau membeli rumah pada harga yang disubsidikan. 

Setelah Dasar Ekonomi Baru dilaksanakan pada tahun 1970, kuota 30% Bumiputera bagi jualan stok perumahan baharu, dan diskaun 5 peratus Bumiputera, telah diperkenalkan untuk menggalakkan penghijrahan bandar dan pemilikan rumah dalam kalangan komuniti tersebut. 

Dengan pertumbuhan kelas menengah yang pesat di Malaysia, semakin bertambah permintaan terhadap rumah mampu milik, yang didorong juga oleh persekitaran harga rumah tinggi dan kos sara hidup yang makin meningkat. Lantaran itu, dasar kerajaan mulai beralih sepanjang dua dekad yang lepas – meningkatkan penawaran dan pemilikan rumah mampu milik dalam kalangan keluarga berpendapatan menengah, bukan sahaja isi rumah yang berpendapatan rendah. 

Selain meningkatkan penawaran rumah ‘mampu milik’ melalui program-program baharu seperti PR1MA, pelbagai insentif pembiayaan juga diperkenalkan untuk menggalakkan pemilikan seperti Skim Rumah Pertamaku, Skim Perumahan Belia, Kempen Pemilikan Rumah, MyHome dan MyDeposit.

Namun begitu, paras hutang isi rumah didapati telah melonjak tinggi, dari 47% KDNK pada 2000 hingga 93% pada 2020. Berlandaskan paras hutang yang tinggi ini – yang barangkali lebih rendah daripada paras sebenar – kita patut bertanya sama ada penggalakan pemilikan rumah melalui pemudahcaraan pembiayaan masih kekal sebagai suatu ide yang munasabah. 

Isi rumah-penyewa ‘tersembunyi’

Kadar pemilikan rumah yang agak tinggi di Malaysia mengaburi suatu fakta penting: sebenarnya terdapat ramai isi rumah yang tidak memiliki rumah di Lembah Klang. Kadar pemilikan rumah di Selangor dan Kuala Lumpur hanyalah 69.7% dan 63.3%, lebih rendah berbanding kadar purata kebangsaan 76.9% (Rajah 1). 

Gambaran ini bertambah serius apabila data dipecahkan menurut pendapatan isi rumah. Hanya 52.5% dan 45.3% isi rumah B40 di Selangor dan Kuala Lumpur memiliki rumah mereka, berbanding 73.1% isi rumah B40 di peringkat kebangsaan (Rajah 2). 

Situasi tampak serupa bagi isi rumah M40 di Lembah Klang; hanya 65.4% dan 51.2% isi rumah M40 di Selangor dan Kuala Lumpur yang memiliki rumah. Sebaliknya, kadar pemilikan rumah M40 di seluruh negara adalah 75.5%. 

Jurang pemilikan rumah antara isi rumah di Lembah Klang dan isi rumah di seluruh Malaysia mulai merapat pada lapisan pendapatan tinggi. 87.0% isi rumah T20 di Malaysia memiliki rumah, tidak jauh beza daripada 86.6% isi rumah T20 di Selangor dan 77.9% di Kuala Lumpur. 

Justeru, data menunjukkan sebilangan besar isi rumah B40 dan M40 di Lembah Klang yang menyewa berbanding di seluruh negara. Barangkali ramai yang menyewa disebabkan ketidakmampuan untuk membeli rumah di lokasi-lokasi yang diinginkan. Namun, adakah kemungkinan terdapat juga faktor-faktor lain? 

Demi mendapatkan gambaran lebih lengkap tentang corak-corak penyewaan dan penentu-penentunya, kami telah bekerjasama dengan syarikat penyelidikan pasaran Dattel untuk menjalankan sebuah tinjauan pendek pada Januari 2022 yang merangkumi 809 responden dari kawasan-kawasan bandar di seluruh negara. 

Siapa yang menyewa?

Geografi

Tinjauan pendek kami pada Januari 2022 mendapati corak yang serupa dengan data pemilikan rumah DOSM 2019, walaupun kurang memaparkan perbezaan ketara antara wilayah disebabkan ukuran sampel kami yang tertumpu pada pusat-pusat bandar. 

Hasil tinjauan menunjukkan bahawa lebih ramai yang menyewa di Lembah Klang (41.0%), negeri-negeri Selatan Semenanjung (38.4%) dan Malaysia Timur (35.1%). Ini diikuti oleh mereka di negeri-negeri Timur Semenanjung (27.3%) dan Utara Semenanjung (26.6%). Di semua wilayah kecuali Utara Semenanjung dan Timur Semenanjung, peratus responden yang menyewa adalah lebih tinggi daripada peratus responden yang menetap di rumah milik sendiri. 

Dari segi pemilikan rumah, peratus tertinggi yang memiliki rumah dilihat dalam kalangan responden Utara Semenanjung iaitu 37.3%, diekori oleh Timur Semenanjung (34.9%), Selatan Semenanjung (31.7%), Lembah Klang (29.3%) dan Malaysia Timur (24.0%). 

Responden yang tinggal bersama ibu bapa atau keluarga berjumlah agak besar di semua wilayah, dari 26.3% di Selatan Semenanjung hingga ke 36.6% di Malaysia Timur. 

Umur

Tidak mengejutkan bahawa lebih ramai golongan muda yang menyewa berbanding golongan yang lebih tua. 38.9% responden berumur 20-29 tahun sedang menyewa, disusuli dengan golongan berumur 30-39 tahun (35.4%) (Rajah 4). 

Suatu lagi pemerhatian menarik adalah terdapat sejumlah golongan tua, yang berumur antara 40 hingga 59 tahun, yang sedang menyewa. Tinjauan ini mendapati 34.1% dan 25.9% responden berumur 40-49 dan 50-59 tahun yang sedang menyewa buat masa ini, satu angka yang agak signifikan. 

Sebilangan besar responden muda pula tinggal bersama keluarga atau ibu bapa mereka. Golongan ini merangkumi 45.8% dan 31.2% responden berumur 20-29 dan 30-39 tahun, berbanding 20.2% dan 5.8% daripada responden berumur 40-49 dan 50-59 tahun. Ramai juga golongan warga emas yang berumur 60-69 tahun yang tinggal bersama ahli keluarga mereka (18.6%), mungkin atas faktor usia lanjut dan penjagaan. 

Kadar pemilikan rumah didapati meningkat bersama usia, sesuatu yang dijangka. Peratus responden yang tinggal di dalam kediaman milik sendiri adalah 42.8% bagi kumpulan umur 40-49 tahun, 60.7% bagi 50-59 tahun, dan 67.6% bagi 60-69 tahun, berbanding 12.2% dan 30.5% bagi golongan 20-29 dan 30-39 tahun. 

Sebab-Sebab Utama Menyewa

Sebab terutama bagi seseorang untuk menyewa adalah ketidakmampuan membayar kos pendahuluan, meliputi 44.5% responden penyewa (Rajah 5). Namun begitu, ramai juga yang menyatakan lokasi sebagai faktor utama menyewa, iaitu 23.9% daripada kumpulan responden penyewa. 

17.2% pula memilih sebab ketidaklayakan untuk mendapatkan pinjaman perumahan manakala 7.2% responden penyewa menyatakan bahawa mereka memilih untuk menyewa atas sebab fleksibiliti. 

Ketidakmampuan membayar bayaran muka merupakan sebab terjelas merentasi kumpulan umur, kecuali kumpulan 40-49 tahun (Rajah 6). Faktor lokasi pula menjadi faktor besar bagi kumpulan umur 30-39 dan 40-49 tahun berbanding kumpulan-kumpulan yang lain. 

Ketidaklayakan mendapatkan pinjaman perumahan bukanlah sebab utama bagi semua golongan lalu mempersoalkan kewajaran pengenalan dasar-dasar yang meringankan syarat kelayakan pinjaman perumahan. Fleksibiliti pula merupakan sebab tersorot bagi semua kumpulan umur walaupun ia agak penting bagi kumpulan umur 50-59 tahun (ini mungkin disebabkan oleh ukuran sampel penyewa yang kecil dalam kumpulan umur ini). 

Sementara ketidakmampuan membayar bayaran muka adalah sebab yang paling sering dipetik di semua wilayah (36.2% hingga 48.4%), faktor lokasi juga memainkan peranan penting bagi keputusan untuk menyewa di Lembah Klang (30.7%) dan Malaysia Timur (25.1%) (Rajah 7). Ketidaklayakan mendapatkan pinjaman perumahan juga menjadi faktor signifikan di Selatan Semenanjung (25.2%) dan Timur Semenanjung (28.5%), berbanding wilayah-wilayah lain. 

Agak menarik bahawa fleksibiliti merupakan sebab ketara untuk menyewa di Utara Semenanjung (14.2%) dan Malaysia Timur (14.1%). Salah satu kemungkinan adalah responden-responden dari wilayah-wilayah ini tidak berhasrat untuk menetap secara jangka panjang di situ dan berniat untuk berpindah ke kawasan lain, barangkali kawasan bandar yang lebih maju, pada masa hadapan.   

Aspirasi Perumahan Masa Hadapan

Secara keseluruhan, 44.3% responden mempunyai aspirasi untuk membeli rumah masing-masing manakala 27.4% berhasrat untuk terus menetap dalam rumah yang sudah dimiliki. 12.7% responden pula merancang untuk terus tinggal bersama ibu bapa atau keluarga mereka manakala 12.0% ingin menyewa secara jangka masa panjang. 

Aspirasi untuk memiliki rumah sendiri adalah lebih tinggi dalam kalangan responden muda iaitu 59.7% dan 46.0% dalam kalangan 20-29 tahun dan 30-39 tahun, disusuli oleh 40-49 tahun (38.0%) (Rajah 8). Kadar ini mulai turun bagi responden berumur 50 tahun dan ke atas, iaitu 13.5% dan 8.3% bagi 50-59 tahun dan 60-69 tahun – ini tidak mengejutkan memandangkan terdapat kadar pemilikan rumah lebih tinggi dalam kalangan golongan lebih berumur. 

Justeru, tidak mengejutkan bahawa peratus responden yang ingin terus tinggal di rumah sendiri adalah lebih tinggi dalam kalangan kumpulan yang lebih berumur iaitu 70.6% dan 65.6% bagi responden berumur 60-69 dan 50-59 tahun. Kadar ini jatuh kepada 38.5% bagi responden 40-49 tahun, diikuti oleh 30-39 tahun (24.8%) dan 20-29 tahun (6.7%).  

Menyewa secara jangka panjang bukanlah pilihan popular dalam kalangan responden muda berbanding responden lebih tua, sesuatu yang kami anggap mengejutkan. Pilihan ini hanya dipilih oleh 12.4% dan 13.7% responden berumur 20-29 dan 30-39 tahun. Sekumpulan besar responden berumur 50-59 tahun juga berhasrat untuk menyewa secara tetap (18.3%). 

Kami melihat bahawa kecenderungan untuk memiliki rumah sendiri juga terlihat di semua wilayah. Para responden yang mempunyai rancangan untuk membeli rumah atau sambung menetap di rumah sendiri berkadar 69.1% hingga 78.2% merentasi semua wilayah (Rajah 9). 

Trend yang lebih kurang sama juga diperhatikan mengikut kategori jantina. Namun, suatu pemerhatian yang menarik adalah peratus responden lelaki yang berniat untuk menyewa secara jangka panjang adalah lebih tinggi (14.9%) berbanding responden wanita (9.0%) (Rajah 10). 

Penutup

Kewujudan dasar-dasar yang mengutamakan pemilikan rumah adalah suatu perkara yang lazim, terutamanya di negara-negara Asia. Salah satu sebab adalah kebarangkalian peningkatan harga rumah jangka panjang, yang dikenali sebagai kesan kekayaan ketara (tangible wealth effect).  Masyarakat-masyarakat Asia juga secara tradisinya melihat pemilikan rumah sebagai sebuah barang kedudukan (positional good), iaitu sesuatu yang menawarkan kedudukan sosial tinggi kepada pihak pemilik. Dari sudut pandang pembuat dasar, pemilikan rumah juga menyumbang kepada kestabilan sosial dan pertapakan di sesebuah negara atau negeri. 

Namun begitu, dasar yang menitikberatkan pemilikan rumah selama ini juga mengandungi beberapa masalah. Tekanan dari masyarakat terhadap pemilikan rumah, di kala harga rumah tinggi dan gaji stagnan, berkemungkinan besar akan meningkatkan paras hutang isi rumah dan stres secara tidak mampan. Kecenderungan ini juga boleh dikatakan mengabaikan dasar-dasar untuk mewujudkan kadar sewa yang mampu dan adil. 

Berdasarkan data DOSM dan tinjauan kami, terdapat sebilangan kecil warga Malaysia yang tidak memiliki rumah, mungkin atas sebab kehendak atau keperluan terdesak. Keterujaan menggalakkan pemilikan rumah yang tidak terkawal akan mengabaikan keperluan mereka yang sedang menyewa, dan mungkin mengetepikan perubahan nilai-nilai berkaitan penyewaan jangka panjang di masa hadapan. 

Perhatian dasar tidak patut diterhadkan kepada hanya “menaiktaraf” golongan penyewa menjadi pemilik rumah, terutamanya apabila penyewaan rumah melibatkan lebih ramai keluarga berpendapatan rendah di bandar berbanding kumpulan lain; separuh daripada isi rumah B40 di Lembah Klang sedang menyewa, dan mungkin akan terus menyewa, lalu memerlukan perlindungan sewaan yang lebih kuat. Perhatian juga harus diacukan terhadap memperkasakan kerangka undang-undang dan institusi pasaran rumah sewa – satu keperluan yang telah pun dibangkitkan oleh Bank Negara Malaysia pada tahun 2017. 

Kerajaan sudah mula menjadikan hal ini suatu keutamaan. Kementerian Perumahan dan Kerajaan Tempatan telah mencadangkan penggubalan sebuah Akta Sewaan Kediaman untuk mewujudkan undang-undang yang dapat melindungi hak penyewa dan tuan rumah, menyediakan templat sekata perjanjian rumah sewa, dan menyelesaikan pertikaian yang bangkit antara pihak penyewa dan tuan rumah. 

Juga menarik bahawa terdapat cadangan untuk menubuhkan suatu badan kerajaan untuk memegang dan menguruskan deposit keselamatan penyewa. Walaupun rang undang-undang ini masih berada di peringkat rundingan (dan telah menerima tentangan hebat daripada pihak pemaju dan sebahagian pemilik rumah antaranya), sudah tiba masanya pihak kerajaan mencampur tangan dalam bidang yang sudah lama diabaikan ini. 

Dalam Bahagian 2 siri kajian ini, kami akan merujuk kepada dasar-dasar yang diperkenalkan untuk memudahcara penyewaan rumah sebagai amalan jangka panjang oleh negara-negara lain. Nantikan keluaran seterusnya. 

  1. Perlu dinyatakan bahawa kadar pemilikan rumah rasmi di Malaysia meliputi rumah tidak formal, iaitu rumah yang dibina tanpa perintah pembangunan (spt. Rumah-rumah bukan atas tanah milik sendiri atau atas rizab sungai, atau rumah “kampung” dibina masyarakat setempat.) Rumah-rumah seperti ini kerap dilihat di kawasan luar bandar, dan dibina secara tak teratur tanpa mematuhi piawaian dan peraturan perumahan sedia ada. Namun begitu, mereka masih dimasukkan ke dalam data rasmi pemilikan rumah. Hal ini mungkin berbeza di negara lain. 
  2. Sumber: Angka 2010, Khazanah Research Institute (2015); Angka 2016, Survei Pendapatan Isi Rumah dan Kemudahan Asas 2016 Jabatan Statistik Negara. 
  3. Sumber: Jabatan statistik negara masing-masing. 
  4. Sumber: Trading Economics.
  5. Unit Projek Perumahan Rakyat (PPR) boleh disewakan pada RM128 sebulan, atau dibeli pada RM35,000 di Semenanjung Malaysia dan RM42,000 di Malaysia Timur. Calon penyewa atau pembeli perlu memenuhi syarat-syarat kelayakan seperti pendapatan isi rumah tidak melebihi RM3,000 sebulan. 
  6. Skim Rumah Pertamaku, diperkenalkan semasa Belanjawan 2011, membenarkan pembeli kali pertama untuk memperoleh pinjaman sebanyak 110% harga rumah tanpa membayar sebarang bayaran muka. Skim ini dijamin oleh Perbadanan Cagaran Malaysia (Cagamas). 
  7. Kempen Pemilikan Rumah (HOC), diperkenalkan pada tahun 2019 dan kemudian dilanjutkan ke Disember 2021, bertujuan menggalakkan pemilikan rumah dengan merendahkan kos pembelian rumah. Pemohon yang layak akan menikmati pengecualian duti setem sehingga RM1 juta, pengecualian separa sehingga RM2.5 juta, dan pengecualian Surat Perjanjian Pinjaman bagi hartanah bernilai sehingga RM2.5 juta. Selain itu, pembeli juga boleh menikmati 10% diskaun bagi rumah-rumah tertentu. 
  8. Di bawah Skim MyHome, diperkenalkan semasa Belanjawan 2014 dan ditamatkan pada November 2020, kerajaan akan membiayai bayaran muka rumah bagi pihak pembeli yang layak. Skim MyDeposit, berlangsung dari 2016 hingga Oktober 2021, menawarkan rebat 10% harga rumah atau RM30,000, mana yang lebih rendah, kepada pembeli rumah kali pertama bagi rumah bernilai RM500,000 dan ke bawah. 
  9. Skim ‘beli dahulu bayar kemudian’ masih belum dikategorikan sebagai pinjaman dan tidak dimasukkan ke dalam statistik hutang isi rumah. 
  10. B40, M40 dan T20 merujuk kepada klasifikasi pendapatan isi rumah di Malaysia. B40 mewakili kumpulan 40%  terbawah, M40 mewakili kumpulan tengah 40%, manakala T20 mewakili kumpulan 20% teratas. 

Room For Rent, Part 2

Renting has been the only viable housing option for many young and lower-income Malaysians but the Malaysian rental market is plagued with a lack of transparency and protection. We take a look at global policy approaches that could make renting better for Malaysians.

In Part 1 of this research series, we highlighted Malaysia’s longstanding policy focus on home ownership against the backdrop of a still significant proportion of ‘hidden renter-households’, or households that do not own their homes, particularly in the Klang Valley region.

The proportion of renter-households may rise in the near future. A recent survey by PropertyGuru found that there is a substantial increase in the Rental Demand Index, suggesting that many home seekers are now opting to rent.

Despite the growing demand for rental units, the Malaysian government has continued to prioritise policies to promote home ownership, including the recent “One Family One House” pledge by the Prime Minister. He has also urged Bank Negara Malaysia to review financing models to ease home ownership among B40 and M40 households.    

Compared to home ownership, there is a lack of policy attention on regulating the rental market and encouraging renting as a viable and attractive option. 

In this instalment of our research series, we examine pro-renting policies implemented in other countries to see what options Malaysia may consider to strengthen and enhance the rental market. In our assessment, three broad policy tenets or pillars should be undertaken: enacting stronger tenant protection, incentivising rental supply expansion, and adopting rent stabilisation.

Pillar 1: Strengthen tenant protection

The first policy tenet is to strengthen tenant protection. Today, there is inadequate protection for tenants in Malaysia, especially on two major issues.

The first issue is tenure security. Currently, security of tenure in Malaysia lasts only throughout the tenancy duration, which commonly extends to two or three years at most. Upon the tenancy’s expiration, the landlord has the right not to renew the agreement regardless of the tenant’s situation or intention. 

In renter-friendly countries such as France, tenants enjoy greater security of tenure. Tenancy agreements last for a longer period – at least three years for individual-owned and six years for institution-owned unfurnished properties. Short agreements are only allowed if the owner has due personal cause to reoccupy the house (for retirement, housing a family member, etc.)  While furnished property can be rented out in a one-year contract, the agreement is automatically renewed unless either party gives a termination notice. 

Tenants in Malaysia are also exposed to eviction risk in the event of change in ownership of the rented property. If the new owner refuses to honour the tenancy agreement, then the tenant may be forced to evict the property.  

While there are a few regulations to protect tenants from unfair eviction – such as Section 7(2) of the Special Relief Act which requires a court order to be obtained before a landlord can remove an existing tenant – tenure security in Malaysia still falls short of the standards in some developed countries. 

Landlords in France are only permitted to evict tenants under specific circumstances such as if the tenant abuses their rights or if the landlord wishes to physically reside in the property – even then, the landlord must provide six months’ notice before moving in. Unlike in Malaysia, ownership transfer is not a sufficient reason for landlords in France to evict tenants.

Even in the event that the landlord or owner wants to sell their property, tenants in France still enjoy a decent level of protection. If the owner wishes to sell the property, a right-to-buy priority must first be extended to the tenant. He must also provide a minimum of six-months’ notice to the tenant.   

The general process of terminating a tenancy is also highly restrictive. In most cases, tenancy termination requires a minimum of six months’ notice, and only takes effect after the contract expiry. A two-month termination notice period clause may be included in the contract but may only be executed if the tenant fails to pay rent, or fails to obtain a home insurance. Furthermore, under the la trêve hivernale (the winter truce) rule, eviction is forbidden during the winter months.

Germany similarly provides a greater degree of tenure security compared to Malaysia. Landlords in Germany may only provide a termination notice under strict conditions such as if there is a manifest breach of contract, if the landlord wants to occupy the premise, or if the landlord has justified reason to make better economic use of the premise. Even so, tenants are empowered to object to a termination notice if the termination causes hardship to the tenant or his family. The notice must also be given three to nine months in advance depending on the tenant’s total tenancy period.

The second issue is the handling of security deposits, which in Malaysia is typically paid upfront by the tenant and held by the landlord until the end of the tenancy. Security deposits are intended to serve as a guarantee that the tenant will preserve and maintain the rented property’s condition. Failure to do so enables the landlord to deduct or withhold the deposit for reparation work. 

However, there is a risk of dispute where tenants claim that their security deposit is unfairly deducted or withheld by the landlord. When such a tenant-landlord conflict arises over security deposits, there is no mechanism to resolve the dispute except by going to court, which can be a costly process to both landlords and tenants.1

There is a better way to resolve this tenant-landlord conflict. The state of Victoria in Australia has created an institutionalised mediation process in the case of tenant-landlord conflict regarding tenancy matters such as eviction and security deposit claims. The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) also allows for faster adjudication of disputes between landlord and tenant compared to formal courts enabling tenants to seek immediate legal protection in case of unjust treatment by their landlords.  

They also formed a neutral third-party body, the Rental Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA), to take over the responsibility of managing tenants’ security deposits from the landlords. RTBA would receive the deposit at the beginning of a tenancy, and return the full amount to the tenant at the end of the tenancy. If the landlord wishes to dispute the amount returned – perhaps due to damages caused by the tenant – he or she can file a petition to VCAT.

There is now realisation that legislation on renting is sorely needed. Early this year, the Ministry of Housing and Local Government announced its commitment to table a Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) sometime in 2022. Initial documents shown during the public consultation stage indicated that the proposed RTA will contain provisions for stronger tenant protection. 

Following the announcement, the Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (REHDA) pushed back against the proposed RTA and instead argued that its application should be limited to rentals below RM750 monthly. 

We at The Centre acknowledge the concerns posed by REHDA which champions private landlords’ right, and preference, to manage their rented properties without government interference. However, limiting the RTA’s application to rentals below RM 750 monthly  will reduce the RTA’s coverage and effectiveness. We believe that  a clear legal framework to regulate tenancy rights should exist and be applicable across the rental market. 

Having an RTA will facilitate a clearer tenant-landlord dispute resolution process on both issues of security of tenure and security deposits. We also recommend that the RTA further enhance tenancy protection by creating a tenant/landlord database. Potential tenants may be alerted to problematic landlords prior to finalising a rental agreement. This may include landlords who have abused their rights such as practicing discrimination or unfairly deducting their tenant’s security deposit.

Similarly, landlords may also utilise the database to filter “bad tenants” i.e. those who consistently missed rental payments, have caused considerable property damage or have committed criminal acts in their rental units. Having such a database provides greater protection for both tenants and landlords, which would enhance the local rental market.

Pillar 2: Expand rental supply 

The second tenet is to enhance the rental market by incentivising increases in rental housing supply. 

The Malaysian government has been providing tax incentives as a measure to encourage the private rental market though the incentives have mainly targeted individual landlords. For instance, landlords in Malaysia may deduct rental-related costs  from their taxable rental income. These include mortgage interest on loan, maintenance/reparation costs, fire/burglary insurance, assessment tax and quit rent, rent collection fees, and new tenant search expenses. In 2018, landlords were even entitled to 50% tax exemption on their rental income.

To significantly increase the supply of rental units, there is room for innovation here. Consider, for example, tax incentives for institutional owners of rental properties such as private corporations, social enterprises, housing associations and real estate trusts. 

The US government has encouraged the development of affordable rental housing by private entities for almost 40 years through a scheme known as Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC). Under this scheme, the federal government grants tax credits to developers or investors to construct affordable rental housing projects catered to low-income and middle-income tenants. In order to qualify for the credit, the rental rate must be below an “affordable” threshold2, and a certain percentage of the housing project must be affordable. 

LIHTC is estimated to have supported the construction or rehabilitation of 3 million units of rental housing since its inception, and is the largest source of affordable housing financing in the US. 

Apart from private firms, tax incentives can be extended to social housing providers to cater to disadvantaged or special interest groups such as low-income families, minorities, elders, and students. Housing associations have built a quarter of England’s new homes and are estimated to house six million people. As they contribute considerably to the provision of affordable rental housing3, these associations and their subsidiaries are exempted from the residential property developer tax which was introduced in the UK last year.4

These aforementioned tax incentives can be taken as a guideline to spur various entities in Malaysia to provide more rental housing units at scale, entities such as government-linked companies, private firms, social enterprises, religion-based waqf and zakat authorities to name a few. 

Alternatively, these entities may also be encouraged to convert existing vacant and unsold premises into rental homes. The conversion of vacant premises into rental homes is becoming a trend in the US due to increased popularity of remote and hybrid working in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.5 This solution may be useful in Malaysia where decreased occupancy rates in office and retail spaces have been reported. Occupancy rates in both categories dropped from 83.3% and 81.3% in 2017 to 78.3% and 76.3% in 2021. 

Incentivising conversions into residential rental units not only increases rental home supply, but also reduces the quantity of unsold and vacant units in Malaysia’s property market. While tax incentives can be a good facilitator, other factors too need to come into play for this conversion strategy to work, such as easier access to up-front financing, favourable rezoning laws, attractive location and floor plan.

Pillar 3: Adopt rent stabilisation 

The third tenet involves stabilising rental rate increases to provide some degree of certainty for long-term tenants and to reduce the risk of hardship from sudden significant rent hikes. 

Global data indicate that rental rates have risen rapidly especially after the Covid-19 pandemic. Cities across the US have reported drastic rise in rental rates with some – such as New York, Austin, and Miami – exceeding 30% in a year. The trend is observed closer to home too in Singapore where rental rates have similarly spiked, reaching a seven-year high in 2022. 

The government may intervene in the rental market without necessarily resorting to rent control, which is still controversial.6 Rather, another way to provide for rent stability and moderate increases is via benchmarking or pegging. 

Some European countries have such policies in place. Landlords in Germany, for example, are not allowed to raise rent during the first 12 months of a tenancy, and are permitted to raise rates to a maximum of 15%-20% within a three-year period. 

Furthermore, landlords are legally restricted from arbitrarily raising rents. If a tenant feels that the rent increase is unjustifiable, then he may dispute it by referring to the local renting association, which can provide assistance in the form of legal fees and rental statistics. If the landlord fails to justify the increase, then the tenant is entitled to refuse the new rate. 

Alternatively, the government can peg the increase in rental rates to relevant benchmarks, such as the consumer price index (CPI).  This is observed in France where any rental increase must be referred to the Rent Reference Index (IRL). IRL is calculated every quarter based on year-on-year changes in consumer prices (excluding tobacco and rent), and provides some degree of predictability to tenants as well as landlords. 

French landlords may raise rents only once a year, and only if such a clause is included in the tenancy agreement. If it is not included, then any rent increase must wait until the tenancy expiry. 

The requisite condition for a rental stabilisation mechanism to work, however, is rental data transparency and availability, which is currently lacking in Malaysia. We urge the government to publish a rental index that tracks the historical movement of rental rates based on location and type of residence, which is available in certain countries such as Singapore

The city-state, via its rental index, has seen its private rental rates reaching a new all-time high in May 2022 following 16 months of consecutive increase. Through such an index, the Malaysian government will be able to identify areas with a red-hot rental market and implement cooling off measures or rental assistance programmes to assist financially-burdened tenants.

Conclusion

As household debt increases and home prices remain unaffordable to many Malaysians, demand for rental units has surged in recent years and merits policy attention. This is especially pertinent for lower-income households in urban areas for whom renting is a more practical option, if not the only possible one, perhaps for an extended period of time. 

While the government continues to promote home ownership, it should also enhance the rental market and make renting better for Malaysians. In this instalment, we advocated for three policy tenets towards addressing existing concerns plaguing the rental market: legislate stronger tenant protection, provide incentives to increase supply of rental units at scale and introduce a rental rate stabilisation mechanism.

In part three of this series, we will present the findings of a comprehensive survey on rental norms, risks and perceptions in order to better understand the concerns faced by tenants. Stay tuned.

  1.  Any tenancy-related dispute is currently adjudicated in court according to the Contracts Act 1950, Civil Law Act 1956, Distress Act 1951, Specific Relief Act 1950 and the Common Law.
  2.  Under the LIHTC, a unit is deemed affordable if the tenant spends not more than 30 percent of their monthly adjusted gross income on housing costs i.e. rental plus utilities. 
  3.   Affordable rented homes are usually rented out at 80% of the local market rent while social rented homes at 50% of the local market rent. 
  4.  Housing associations have built a quarter of England’s new homes and are estimated to house six million people. In the past, these associations relied largely on public funding to build social homes – 419,000 new homes were built from 1990 to 2010. After public funding was significantly reduced in 2010, these associations sustained themselves by developing homes for sale and market rent, and reinvesting the proceeds into building more social homes. Through this strategy, 20,000 social rental homes and 77,000 affordable rental homes were constructed from 2015 to 2019.
  5.  In 2021 alone, RentCafe calculated that a record 20,100 units have been converted into apartments, double the previous year, with about 52,000 conversions already planned for 2022 and beyond. Most of the converted units were originally office buildings.
  6.  Rent control has been largely frowned upon in the US. 37 of the country’s states have laws that preempt local governments from adopting rent control such as the Illinois’ 1997 Rent Control Preemption Act. Notwithstanding this context, tenants’ drastic rise in rental burden has generated stronger pressure for local governments to intervene in the rental market. Regulations are now being proposed throughout the country to cap monthly rental increases by 2% to 10%.

Generasi Berhutang, Bahagian 4

Tahun lepas, kami memulakan sebuah siri penyelidikan untuk meneliti masalah hutang pinjaman pendidikan tinggi di Malaysia, dan mengesyorkan beberapa perubahan dasar pokok ke arah menyelesaikan masalah berkaitan pinjaman tertunggak serta isu-isu sistemik jangka panjang. 

Dalam Bahagian 1 siri penyelidikan ini, kami merumuskan beberapa isu berbangkit. Sejak penubuhan PTPTN pada tahun 1997, sebanyak RM62.5 bilion yang berupa pinjaman pendidikan telah dikeluarkan kepada 3.5 juta peminjam. Kejayaan kaedah pembiayaan ini bergantung pada pulangan positif yang luas dan konsisten daripada pendidikan tinggi. Walau bagaimanapun, prospek mobiliti sosial daripada pendidikan tinggi tidak direalisasikan secara sama rata, lalu memberi tekanan kepada pendekatan dasar ini.

Dalam Bahagian 2, kami mengutarakan tiga cadangan dasar baru untuk menangani isu berkaitan hutang pinjaman pendidikan yang tertunggak pada masa sekarang: penghapusan hutang bersasar, pembayaran balik berasaskan pendapatan, dan pengawasan yang lebih ketat terhadap operasi dan pembiayaan PTPTN. Pembahagian peminjam sedia ada mengikut keupayaan mereka untuk membayar balik pinjaman merupakan tonggak utama kepada cadangan-cadangan kami.

Dalam Bahagian 3, kami melontarkan cadangan dasar yang berpandangan jauh untuk memperbaharui cara rakyat Malaysia membiayai pendidikan tinggi mereka. Kami berhujah agar penggubal dasar menghayati perubahan semasa lanskap pendidikan tinggi dan menggubal dasar yang berkembang mengikut keperluan terkini. Ini termasuk mengurangkan penekanan pada ijazah tradisional dan mengembangkan fokus kepada TVET dan kelayakan mikro, beralih daripada kaedah pinjaman kepada pemberian subsidi terus untuk pelajar daripada isi rumah yang kurang bernasib baik, dan menyediakan akaun pembelajaran sepanjang hayat individu untuk setiap rakyat Malaysia.

Dalam bahagian terakhir siri ini, kami kongsikan dapatan daripada tinjauan peminjam pinjaman pendidikan tinggi kami. Tinjauan ini bertujuan untuk memahami pandangan peminjam mengenai pinjaman pendidikan dan kesan pinjaman tersebut terhadap kehidupan mereka. Majoriti responden tinjauan bersetuju bahawa pinjaman pendidikan merupakan ‘harga yang berbaloi’ untuk mencapai kelayakan pengajian tinggi. Namun begitu, mereka juga amat menyokong cadangan-cadangan dasar progresif seperti pemberian subsidi terus kepada pelajar yang kurang bernasib baik, dan pembayaran balik berasaskan pendapatan individu. Pada masa yang sama, kami mendapati ramai responden masih kurang pengetahuan tentang cara PTPTN, yakni penyedia pinjaman pendidikan terbesar di negara, menjalankan operasi pinjamannya. Dapatan-dapatan lain yang signifikan akan diperincikan dengan lebih lanjut di bawah.


Mengenai kaji selidik ini

Tinjauan ini telah dijalankan melalui soal selidik dalam talian, diedarkan menggunakan kaedah persampelan mudah, antara 3 Ogos hingga 17 September 2021, dalam Bahasa Melayu dan Bahasa Inggeris. 

Memandangkan kaedah persampelan kami bukanlah persampelan rawak berstrata, dapatan kajiselidik ini mesti dibaca dengan pertimbangan tersebut. Berdasarkan respons yang telah kami terima sepanjang tinjauan, kami menganggarkan bahawa responden lebih condong untuk terdiri daripada orang bandar, tetapi agak representatif dari segi demografi lain seperti umur dan jantina. Walau bagaimanapun, kami mengakui bahawa anggaran ini hanya boleh disahkan dengan akses kepada pangkalan data peminjam, yang kini tidak dapat diakses oleh orang awam dan para penyelidik.

Sebanyak 356 respons telah diperoleh sepanjang tempoh kajian yang mana 53 terpaksa diabaikan kerana status mereka sebagai bukan peminjam dan dua lagi dikecualikan kerana maklumat responden yang tidak konsisten, menjadikan 301 sampel respons yang boleh digunapakai.

55% daripada responden kami adalah perempuan. 73% responden berumur antara 25-40 tahun, 19% berumur antara 17-24 tahun, dan 8% berumur antara 41-55 tahun. Dari segi kumpulan etnik, 71% adalah Melayu, diikuti oleh 12% Cina, 9% India, dan 5% Bumiputera bukan Melayu. Dari segi geografi, 64% responden tinggal di Selangor dan Kuala Lumpur.


Pekerjaan, corak pendapatan dan perbelanjaan kewangan

Majoriti responden bekerja dalam sesuatu kapasiti. 68% daripada responden adalah pekerja sepenuh masa, manakala 11% lagi bekerja sebagai pekerja sambilan, pekerja bebas atau usahawan; 2% adalah suri rumah sepenuh masa. Daripada mereka yang tidak bekerja, 7% sedang menganggur dan 12% masih belajar. (Rajah 1).

Rajah 1: Status pekerjaan

Berkenaan pendapatan semasa, selepas mengecualikan mereka yang masih belajar, 9% responden menyatakan bahawa mereka tidak mempunyai pendapatan bulanan tetap, 16% berpendapatan kurang daripada RM2,000 sebulan, dan 36% berpendapatan antara RM2,000 dan RM4,000 sebulan (Rajah 2). Secara keseluruhan, 61% responden berpendapatan di bawah RM4,000 sebulan.

Rajah 2: Pendapatan bulanan semasa

Majoriti responden, 67%, adalah pekerja yang masih dalam peringkat awal kerjaya mereka dengan pengalaman kerja 7 tahun dan ke bawah. 38% responden melaporkan bekerja kurang daripada 3 tahun, 29% bekerja antara 3-7 tahun, 11% bekerja 7-10 tahun, dan 22% bekerja lebih daripada 10 tahun (Rajah 3).

Rajah 3: Tahun pengalaman bekerja

Dari segi peningkatan pendapatan (sekali lagi selepas mengecualikan mereka yang masih belajar), 42% responden melaporkan tren pendapatan yang semakin meningkat – satu dapatan penting yang mencerminkan secara positif perkembangan kerjaya dan pulangan ke atas pendidikan tinggi. Walau bagaimanapun, terdapat 44% responden yang ketara melaporkan bahawa pendapatan mereka agak tidak berubah sejak mereka mula bekerja. Terdapat sebilangan minoriti yang melaporkan tren pendapatan yang membimbangkan: sekitar 10% melaporkan pendapatan tidak stabil, 2% melaporkan tiada pendapatan dan 3% melaporkan pendapatan menurun (Rajah 4). 

Rajah 4: Corak pendapatan responden

Kesan COVID-19 ke atas kelangsungan hidup para peminjam juga patut diberi perhatian: 52% responden melaporkan bahawa pandemik tidak memberi kesan kepada pendapatan mereka, manakala 13% menyaksikan pendapatan mereka meningkat dalam tempoh ini. Namun, di kalangan mereka yang pendapatannya telah terjejas, kerugian yang ditanggung adalah besar: 8% menyaksikan pendapatan mereka merosot sekurang-kurangnya 30%, dan 11% lagi hilang pekerjaan (Rajah 5).

Rajah 5: Kesan pandemik Covid-19 terhadap pendapatan

Majoriti kecil responden, 54%, mempunyai sekurang-kurangnya satu tanggungan kewangan seperti pasangan yang tidak bekerja, anak atau ibu bapa (Rajah 6).

Rajah 6: Bilangan tanggungan kewangan

Selain daripada pinjaman pendidikan, kira-kira 67% peminjam melaporkan mereka turut memberi bantuan kewangan kepada ibu bapa mereka. 45% daripada mereka mempunyai pinjaman kenderaan, dan 30% mempunyai hutang kad kredit untuk dibayar. 25% mempunyai pinjaman perumahan, dan 21% juga mempunyai pinjaman peribadi (Rajah 7).

Rajah 7: Jenis komitmen kewangan


Tujuan dan amaun pinjaman yang diambil

Sebilangan besar responden (74%) mengambil hanya satu pinjaman pendidikan, walaupun terdapat sejumlah responden yang mengambil dua pinjaman pendidikan (25%) dan sebahagian minoriti yang mengambil tiga pinjaman pendidikan (1%).

Rajah 8: Bilangan pinjaman pendidikan

Pinjaman tersebut kebanyakannya digunakan untuk membiayai ijazah sarjana muda, diikuti oleh pra-universiti dan diploma (Rajah 9).

Rajah 9: Peringkat kursus yang dibiayai oleh pinjaman pendidikan

Majoriti responden belajar di institusi pengajian tinggi awam (IPTA) berbanding institusi pengajian tinggi swasta (IPTS) dan institusi luar negara. Bagi mereka yang belajar di luar negara, lazimnya ia adalah untuk kursus ijazah dan pensijilan profesional/teknikal (Rajah 10).

Rajah 10: Jenis institusi yang dibiayai pinjaman mengikut peringkat kursus

Menariknya, amat ramai responden yang berjaya menamatkan program pengajian mereka (88%). Hanya 2% sahaja yang gagal menamatkan program mereka manakala baki 10% responden masih belajar (Rajah 11).

Rajah 11: Kadar tamat pengajian

Dari segi penyedia pinjaman, PTPTN merupakan sumber terbesar pinjaman pendidikan. 82% responden melaporkan bahawa mereka meminjam daripada PTPTN, diikuti oleh 14% daripada MARA dan 8% daripada kerajaan negeri (Rajah 12).

Rajah 12: Sumber pinjaman pendidikan

Dari segi amaun pinjaman, 82% responden meminjam kurang daripada RM60,000. Ini adalah konsisten dengan purata saiz pinjaman yang dinyatakan oleh pengerusi PTPTN sebelum ini. 10% responden meminjam kurang daripada RM15,000, 41% meminjam antara RM15,001 hingga RM30,000, manakala 31% lagi meminjam antara RM30,001 hingga RM60,000; terdapat 7% responden yang meminjam lebih daripada RM100,000 (Rajah 13).

Rajah 13: Amaun pinjaman pendidikan

Dari segi tempoh masa untuk membayar balik pinjaman pendidikan mereka (mengikut perjanjian pinjaman), 34% responden menyatakan bahawa mereka perlu membayar balik dalam tempoh 5-10 tahun dan 34% lagi menyatakan mereka perlu membayar dalam tempoh 10-20 tahun. 16% melaporkan bahawa mereka perlu membayar hutang mereka dalam tempoh 20-30 tahun dan baki 8% melaporkan bahawa mereka akan mengambil masa lebih daripada 30 tahun untuk membayar balik pinjaman pendidikan mereka (Rajah 14). Untuk rekod, PTPTN membenarkan para peminjam menstruktur semula pinjaman mereka dan ini membolehkan peminjam untuk memanjangkan tempoh bayaran balik sehingga mereka mencapai umur 60 tahun.

Rajah 14a: Tempoh pinjaman pendidikan

Rajah 14b: Tempoh pinjaman pendidikan mengikut amaun pinjaman

Bayaran bulanan peminjam bergantung pada saiz pinjaman dan tempoh pembayaran balik mereka. Majoriti besar responden, 72%, membayar antara RM100 dan RM300 sebulan. Secara spesifiknya, 8% membayar kurang daripada RM100 sebulan, 45% responden membayar antara RM100 dan RM200 sebulan, 27% membayar antara RM200 dan RM300 sebulan, 11% membayar antara RM300 dan RM400 sebulan, 5% membayar antara RM 400 dan RM 500 sebulan, dan 4% membayar lebih daripada RM500 sebulan (Rajah 15).

Rajah 15: Bayaran balik pinjaman bulanan

Perkara ini tidak menjadi masalah apabila pendapatan peminjam sepadan dengan bayaran bulanan dan jumlah hutang mereka; secara amnya peminjam dengan ansuran pinjaman bulanan yang tinggi cenderung memperoleh pendapatan yang lebih tinggi (Rajah 16). Walau bagaimanapun, terdapat segmen graduan yang berpendapatan kurang daripada RM2,000 atau tiada pendapatan yang menghadapi cabaran membuat bayaran bulanan. Hairannya, dalam kalangan kumpulan berpendapatan tinggi (lebih daripada RM7,000 sebulan), sebanyak 38% daripada mereka hanya membayar RM200 atau ke bawah. Dapatan ini boleh menyokong cadangan kami untuk menetapkan amaun bayaran balik berdasarkan pendapatan peminjam.

Rajah 16: Bayaran balik pinjaman bulanan mengikut pendapatan

41% daripada responden pernah berunding untuk menstruktur semula pembayaran balik pinjaman mereka sekurang-kurangnya sekali – jumlah yang agak tinggi. Semakin besar saiz pinjaman mereka, semakin besar kemungkinan peminjam akan menstruktur semula pembayaran balik pinjaman mereka. Kira-kira 75% daripada responden yang meminjam lebih daripada RM100,000 menyusun semula pembayaran pinjaman mereka, diikuti oleh 46% daripada mereka yang meminjam antara RM60,001 hingga RM100,000, 40% daripada mereka yang meminjam antara RM30,001 hingga RM60,000, 40 % daripada mereka yang meminjam antara RM15,001 hingga RM30,000, dan hanya 20% di kalangan mereka yang meminjam kurang daripada RM15,000 (Rajah 17).

Rajah 17: Penstrukturan semula pinjaman mengikut amaun pinjaman

Dari segi pendapatan, agak mengejutkan apabila terdapat lebih ramai responden dalam kalangan kumpulan berpendapatan tertinggi yang menstruktur semula pinjaman mereka (49% antara mereka yang memperoleh lebih daripada RM7,000 sebulan) berbanding kumpulan berpendapatan terendah (26% antara mereka yang berpendapatan kurang daripada RM2,000 sebulan) (Rajah 18)*. Ini mungkin disebabkan oleh dua perkara: mereka yang berpendapatan tinggi lebih mampu untuk mengambil kesempatan diskaun PTPTN untuk membuat pembayaran balik dalam jumlah yang besar lalu menstruktur semula untuk menyelesaikan pinjaman mereka dengan lebih cepat, manakala mereka yang berpendapatan rendah lebih berkemungkinan lalai (defaulted) berbanding menstruktur semula pinjaman mereka.

*Corak ini juga berlaku apabila kita membandingkan kumpulan pendapatan kedua tertinggi dan kumpulan pendapatan kedua terendah. Pengecualian adalah mereka yang tidak melaporkan pendapatan bulanan – kira-kira 50% daripada mereka menstruktur semula pinjaman mereka.

Rajah 18: Penstrukturan semula pinjaman mengikut pendapatan

Dari segi kadar pembayaran balik, yang sering menjadi isu hangat yang mencetuskan naratif berita yang berbeza, tinjauan kami selari dengan kenyataan PTPTN sebelum ini: walaupun terdapat sebahagian minoriti peminjam yang lalai, majoriti membayar balik pinjaman mereka. 60% daripada responden boleh dikategorikan sebagai mereka yang berada pada kedudukan yang baik kerana mereka sama ada telah membayar balik pinjaman mereka sepenuhnya atau sedang membayar secara konsisten seperti yang dijadualkan dalam perjanjian mereka. 20% boleh dikategorikan sebagai peminjam yang membayar secara tidak konsisten dan 8% boleh dikategorikan sebagai penghutang lalai yang tidak pernah membayar balik pinjaman mereka. Baki 12% daripada responden belum dijadualkan untuk memulakan pembayaran balik (Rajah 19).

Rajah 19: Status bayaran balik

Melihat corak penghutang lalai dengan lebih mendalam, dapatan kami sebahagian besarnya menyokong tinjauan PTPTN yang terdahulu (disebutkan dalam penerbitan ini) bahawa kebanyakan penghutang lalai cenderung datang daripada kumpulan berpendapatan rendah. Bagi mereka yang membuat pembayaran tidak konsisten, 46% melaporkan tidak mempunyai pendapatan semasa atau berpendapatan kurang daripada RM2,000 sebulan manakala 29% lagi memperoleh antara RM2,000 dan RM4,000 sebulan. Bagi mereka yang tidak pernah membuat pembayaran balik, 36% melaporkan tiada pendapatan bulanan pada masa ini dan 32% lagi berpendapatan kurang daripada RM2,000 sebulan. Namun begitu, terdapat juga sebahagian daripada mereka yang membuat pembayaran tidak konsisten yang datang dari kumpulan berpendapatan tinggi: 14% memperoleh pendapatan antara RM4,000 dan RM7,000 sebulan, dan 12% lagi daripada mereka memperoleh lebih daripada RM7,000 sebulan (Rajah 20).

Rajah 20: Status bayaran balik mengikut pendapatan

Untuk lebih memahami motivasi di sebalik tindakan mereka membayar atau tidak membayar balik pinjaman mereka, kami meminta responden supaya menanda beberapa kenyataan yang menjelaskan tindakan mereka. Tiga sebab utama yang dilaporkan mengapa peminjam yang berada pada kedudukan baik membayar pinjaman mereka adalah: mereka berasa bertanggungjawab untuk membayar hutang mereka (94%), mereka tidak suka berhutang (93%), dan mereka ingin mengelakkan penalti (87%) (Rajah 21).

Rajah 21: Motivasi untuk pembayaran balik yang konsisten

Dalam kalangan mereka yang tidak membayar balik atau membayar secara tidak konsisten, tiga sebab utama yang dilaporkan mengapa mereka berbuat demikian adalah: mereka tidak mempunyai pendapatan yang cukup untuk menampung kos sara hidup dan tanggungan yang lain (75%), mereka sedang menunggu menunggu pengumuman atau janji pilihan raya untuk mengurangkan hutang pinjaman atau bayaran balik (73%), dan mereka percaya adalah tidak adil untuk membayar kos sebanyak ini untuk pendidikan tinggi (71%) (Rajah 22).

Rajah 22: Motivasi untuk pembayaran yang tidak konsisten / lalai

Pendapatan peminjam yang merupakan “Pelajar Generasi Pertama” berbanding kumpulan yang lain

59% responden dikenal pasti sebagai graduan generasi pertama. Maksudnya, kedua-dua ibu bapa mereka tidak memiliki ijazah universiti dan mereka adalah yang pertama dalam keluarga mereka yang berjaya menamatkan pengajian tinggi. Walaupun ini membuktikan bahawa pinjaman pendidikan tinggi memanfaatkan pelajar generasi pertama dan membolehkan mereka melanjutkan pengajian tinggi, mereka didapati memperoleh pendapatan yang lebih rendah, sebagai satu kumpulan, berbanding peminjam yang bukan merupakan pelajar generasi pertama (iaitu mereka yang mempunyai ibu bapa berkelayakan pendidikan tinggi.).

Lebih ramai responden daripada generasi pertama yang berpendapatan kurang daripada RM2,000 sebulan (20%) berbanding responden yang bukan generasi pertama (11%). Terdapat juga lebih ramai responden generasi pertama yang melaporkan tidak mempunyai pendapatan bulanan pada masa ini berbanding responden bukan generasi pertama. Ringkasnya, walaupun pencapaian pendidikan tinggi adalah penting, kelayakan pendidikan ibu bapa juga merupakan salah satu faktor penentu kepada keupayaan pendapatan peminjam.

Rajah 23: Pendapatan peminjam generasi pertama berbanding kumpulan lain

Kesan dan persepsi terhadap pinjaman pendidikan

Selain profil dan pinjaman mereka, kami juga bertanya kepada responden bagaimana mereka melihat nilai pinjaman pendidikan, kesan pinjaman pendidikan terhadap kedudukan kewangan mereka dan sama ada dasar pinjaman pendidikan hari ini perlu diteruskan atau diubah. 

Apabila kami bertanya kepada responden sama ada mereka merasakan pendidikan atau kelayakan yang mereka terima berbaloi dengan kos pinjaman pendidikan, majoriti 59% melaporkan bahawa ia berbaloi (Rajah 24). Kira-kira 22% berasa neutral dan baki 20% berpandangan bahawa ia tidak berbaloi.

Rajah 24: Persepsi nilai pendidikan berbanding pinjaman pendidikan

Apabila kami meneliti data tersebut mengikut corak pendapatan, mereka yang berpendapatan rendah lebih cenderung melaporkan bahawa pendidikan tinggi mereka tidak berbaloi dengan hutang pinjaman yang ditanggung berbanding mereka yang berpendapatan tinggi. Peminjam yang berpendapatan kurang daripada RM2,000 sebulan atau tidak mempunyai pendapatan bulanan pada masa ini lebih berkemungkinan melaporkan bahawa pendidikan mereka tidak berbaloi dengan hutang pinjaman pendidikan yang ditanggung berbanding dengan responden yang berpendapatan lebih tinggi (Rajah 25).

Rajah 25: Persepsi nilai pendidikan mengikut pendapatan

Apabila kami membandingkan persepsi nilai pendidikan mengikut jenis institusi untuk ijazah sarjana muda – peringkat kursus paling popular di kalangan responden kami – kami mendapati mereka yang berada di institusi pengajian tinggi awam (IPTA) tempatan lebih berkemungkinan melaporkan bahawa pendidikan mereka berbaloi dengan pinjaman pendidikan berbanding dengan rakan sebaya mereka di institusi pengajian tinggi swasta (IPTS) tempatan. Mereka yang mengambil pinjaman untuk membiayai kursus ijazah sarjana muda di IPTS juga cenderung sedikit untuk menyatakan bahawa pendidikan mereka tidak berbaloi dengan hutang pinjaman. Satu lagi dapatan menarik adalah mereka yang belajar di institusi pengajian tinggi luar negara lebih cenderung untuk melaporkan bahawa pendidikan mereka berbaloi dengan pinjaman berbanding dengan mereka yang belajar di institusi pengajian tinggi tempatan.

Rajah 26: Persepsi nilai pendidikan mengikut jenis institusi pendidikan (ijazah sarjana muda sahaja)

Agak memeranjatkan, jumlah responden yang melaporkan pernah dikenakan penalti pinjaman adalah sedikit rendah (Rajah 27). Hanya 11% mengatakan mereka pernah tidak dapat melakukan perjalanan ke luar negara kerana disenaraihitamkan oleh imigresen selepas tidak membayar balik pinjaman pendidikan mereka. 4% melaporkan pernah disaman kerana tidak membayar balik pinjaman pendidikan, dan 2% lagi melaporkan bahawa mereka pernah diisytiharkan muflis oleh mahkamah kerana tidak membayar balik pinjaman pendidikan mereka. 24% melaporkan kesukaran mendapatkan pinjaman bank kerana status pembayaran balik pinjaman pendidikan mereka menjejaskan skor kepercayaan kredit mereka.

Rajah 27: Penalti yang dihadapi oleh peminjam

Untuk lebih memahami impak berbeza hutang pinjaman pendidikan terhadap kehidupan peminjam, kami bertanya kepada responden tentang kesan pinjaman tersebut terhadap kedudukan kewangan dan rancangan kehidupan mereka. 59% melaporkan bahawa pinjaman pendidikan telah menyumbang kepada tekanan kewangan, 57% melaporkan bahawa pinjaman pendidikan menyumbang kepada kelewatan dalam pembelian rumah, dan 52% melaporkan bahawa pinjaman pendidikan menyumbang kepada mereka menangguhkan simpanan, termasuk simpanan kecemasan dan simpanan persaraan (Rajah 28). 46% daripada responden melaporkan bahawa pinjaman pendidikan telah menyumbang kepada mereka tidak memulakan perniagaan atau mengusahakan sesuatu yang berisiko, manakala 42% melaporkan bahawa pinjaman pendidikan telah menyumbang kepada mereka menangguhkan perkahwinan atau memulakan keluarga (iaitu mendapatkan zuriat).

Rajah 28: Kesan pinjaman pendidikan terhadap rancangan kehidupan

Kami juga bertanya pendapat responden tentang beberapa idea untuk memperbaharui dasar pinjaman pendidikan. Pendapatan kewangan adalah tema yang sering ditekankan oleh para responden. 82% responden bersetuju bahawa hutang pinjaman pendidikan tidak menjadi masalah sekiranya graduan mendapat gaji yang lebih tinggi. Sehubungan itu, terdapat sokongan padu daripada responden, 81%, untuk memulakan pembayaran balik pinjaman pendidikan hanya selepas peminjam mencapai tahap pendapatan yang berpatutan – ini adalah salah satu cadangan dasar yang kami anjurkan dalam Bahagian 2 siri kajian ini. Lebih daripada dua pertiga responden, 77%, bersetuju bahawa peminjam yang kurang bernasib baik dan terbeban wajar mendapat pengampunan bagi sebahagian daripada hutang pinjaman pendidikan mereka – cadangan yang juga kami usulkan sebelum ini.

Rajah 29: Sokongan untuk pembayaran balik berasaskan pendapatan dan pengampuan sebahagian hutang pinjaman

Cadangan dasar untuk mengenakan lebih banyak pengawalan ke atas pinjaman pendidikan tidak dipersetujui oleh responden – ini bertentangan dengan idea kami berkenaan hal ini. Majoriti responden tidak bersetuju bahawa kriteria untuk pinjaman pendidikan perlu diperketatkan dan diberikan untuk kursus tertentu sahaja (69%) atau institusi tertentu sahaja (71%), yang merupakan dua daripada cadangan-cadangan dasar yang kami usulkan dalam Bahagian 3 siri kajian ini. Sebilangan kecil responden juga memberi reaksi negatif terhadap pengesyoran dasar kami bahawa jumlah pinjaman pendidikan untuk ijazah universiti tradisional perlu dikurangkan, dan lebih banyak lagi untuk kursus teknikal dan atas talian termasuk kelayakan mikro (52% tidak bersetuju). Walau bagaimanapun, kajian lanjutan yang merangkumi sampel yang lebih representatif, termasuk lebih ramai graduan TVET, mungkin akan menjana pandangan yang kurang condong ke arah pemilikan ijazah tradisional.

Rajah 30: Sokongan untuk cadangan pembaharuan dasar pinjaman

77% responden bersetuju bahawa belia tidak patut perlu berhutang untuk mencapai pendidikan tinggi, dan majoriti yang lebih besar, 82%, berkata golongan miskin tidak sewajarnya perlu berbuat demikian. Majoriti responden, 59%, tidak bersetuju dengan kenyataan bahawa seseorang individu atau keluarga bertanggungjawab sepenuhnya untuk menabung dan membiayai pengajian tinggi mereka sendiri. Mungkin dalam kajian akan datang, boleh dilihat sama ada peminjam merasakan bahawa keluarga harus bertanggungjawab untuk membayar sebahagian kos pendidikan tinggi.

Rajah 31: Pandangan mengenai pembiayaan pendidikan tinggi

Mengenai persoalan kemampuan fiskal, kira-kira dua pertiga daripada responden, 69%, berpendapat bahawa negara mampu untuk menyediakan pendidikan tinggi percuma untuk semua orang (Rajah 32). Pada pandangan kami, ini mencerminkan jurang antara pembuat dasar (yang cenderung lebih berhati-hati/konservatif dari segi fiskal) dengan pandangan masyarakat umum.

Rajah 32: Pandangan tentang kemampuan kerajaan menyediakan pendidikan tinggi percuma

Walau bagaimanapun, ramai responden tidak mengetahui bagaimana PTPTN – penyedia pinjaman pendidikan terbesar di negara – beroperasi (Rajah 33). Hanya 39% menyedari bahawa PTPTN meminjam daripada institusi kewangan dan pasaran kewangan. Lebih dua pertiga daripada responden, 77%, mengandaikan bahawa PTPTN dibiayai sepenuhnya oleh kerajaan dan pembayar cukai, dan hanya 36% sedar bahawa kerajaan Malaysia menjamin hutang yang ditanggung oleh PTPTN. Kira-kira 40% mengandaikan bahawa PTPTN dibiayai sepenuhnya oleh kutipan pinjaman (Kami telah membincangkan bagaimana PTPTN beroperasi dalam Bahagian 1.).

Rajah 33: Pengetahuan tentang operasi pembiayaan PTPTN

Kesimpulan

Kami memulakan siri kajian ini dengan menggariskan beberapa masalah utama yang berbangkit apabila pinjaman pendidikan menjadi tonggak utama dasar pembiayaan pendidikan tinggi bagi rakyat Malaysia. Seperti yang telah dinyatakan sebelum ini, isu utama ialah pulangan dari pendidikan tinggi yang tidak diagihkan secara sama rata. Ini dibuktikan oleh tinjauan kami yang mendapati lebih daripada separuh responden berpendapatan RM4,000 sebulan dan ke bawah.

Disebabkan pulangan tidak sekata daripada pendidikan tinggi, kami membuat hipotesis bahawa graduan kini makin mempersoalkan nilai pendidikan tinggi mereka berbanding dengan kos hutang pinjaman pendidikan. Ini sedikit sebanyak disokong oleh tinjauan ini, di mana hanya majoriti kecil responden, 59%, bersetuju bahawa pendidikan mereka berbaloi dengan pinjaman yang ditanggung. Peminjam yang berpendapatan lebih rendah (kurang daripada RM2,000 sebulan) berkemungkinan besar mempersoalkan nilai pendidikan tinggi mereka. 

Kami menguji andaian kami yang lain mengenai aspek berkaitan seperti tingkah laku pembayaran balik pinjaman, tahap penstrukturan semula pinjaman, kesan pinjaman pendidikan terhadap tekanan kewangan dan rancangan kehidupan peminjam, serta sejauh mana pengetahuan peminjam tentang cara PTPTN dibiayai; Kesemua ini diringkaskan dalam Jadual 1 di bawah. Walaupun kebanyakan andaian kami mengenai impak pinjaman pendidikan terhadap situasi kewangan peminjam telah disahkan, beberapa dapatan tidak senegatif/seteruk yang kami jangkakan.

Jadual 1: Andaian yang diuji dan petunjuk daripada tinjauan

Selain daripada andaian di atas, kami juga menguji pandangan peminjam terhadap perspektif dasar kami (Jadual 2). Beberapa pengesyoran dasar kami tidak disenangi para peminjam. Contohnya dalam Bahagian 3, kami telah menganjurkan pengetatan  syarat dan pengehadan pinjaman pendidikan bagi kursus atau institusi tertentu yang mempunyai rekod prestasi yang terbukti, tetapi responden menolak cadangan ini dengan margin yang besar. Kami juga menyarankan untuk mengembangkan lebih banyak pinjaman pendidikan untuk kursus teknikal dan vokasional (TVET) dan mikrokredential tetapi responden kurang menyokong cadangan ini.

Walau bagaimanapun, cadangan-cadangan kami yang lain ternyata menarik perhatian dan sokongan para responden. Terdapat sokongan kukuh untuk membenarkan peminjam memulakan pembayaran balik hanya selepas mereka mencapai tahap pendapatan yang berpatutan, selari dengan idea untuk melaksanakan pembayaran balik berasaskan pendapatan. Responden juga menyokong pandangan dasar kami bahawa isi rumah berpendapatan rendah tidak harus perlu menanggung hutang untuk mencapai pendidikan tinggi – dan ini menunjukkan suatu kemahuan untuk pembaharuan dasar yang progresif. Cadangan dasar kami yang sejajar dengan visi sedemikian termasuklah menyediakan pengampunan separa pinjaman pendidikan yang bersasar untuk peminjam berpendapatan rendah serta pemberian subsidi terus, bukannya pinjaman, kepada pelajar daripada kumpulan berpendapatan rendah.

Jadual 2: Sokongan bagi cadangan dasar kami

Secara prinsipnya, sebarang keputusan untuk menambah baik dasar pembiayaan pendidikan tinggi harus dipandu oleh dua pemacu utama: pulangan sebenar pendidikan tinggi dan kemampanan struktur pembiayaan PTPTN. 

Mengakui dan mengenal pasti ketidaksamaan pulangan daripada pendidikan tinggi akan membantu kita untuk bergerak ke arah dasar yang (i) benar-benar membantu untuk menyamakan peluang dan kedudukan untuk pelajar daripada isi rumah berpendapatan rendah, dan (ii) mengagihkan sokongan sumber dan jaminan kualiti yang berpatutan kepada pendidikan berterusan yang tidak tradisional seperti TVET dan mikrokredential.

Kesedaran struktur jangka panjang pembiayaan PTPTN yang kurang mampan akan membantu kerajaan untuk menetapkan laluan ke arah dasar yang (iii) beralih daripada kebergantungan pada hutang pinjaman ke arah  inisiatif subsidi/tabungan simpanan untuk pembelajaran sepanjang hayat setiap rakyat Malaysia, dan (iv) menginstitusikan lebih banyak nilai ketelusan, akauntabiliti dan pengawasan dalam badan pembiayaan seperti PTPTN.

Mengambil kira perubahan ketara yang kian berlaku dalam dunia pekerjaan dan pendidikan tinggi, kami percaya bahawa sudah tiba masanya untuk lebih banyak penggubalan dasar – yang berasaskan bukti dan kajian – dibuat untuk mengkaji semula pinjaman pendidikan sebagai instrumen dasar. Dengan pilihan raya umum yang semakin menjelang tiba, kami berharap untuk melihat dan menilai pelbagai cadangan dasar dan pemikiran baru yang memandang ke hadapan daripada parti-parti politik mengenai topik yang sangat penting ini.

Thinking about reskilling? Here’s what you need to know

Skills development is central in adapting to changing labour demand amidst broad economic and social changes. The Malaysian government has given skills development ample emphasis going all the way back from the First Malaysia Plan. In the last three years, the government has poured an average of RM19 billion on various reskilling schemes every year, an amount equivalent to 5-6% of the annual budget (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Malaysia’s Budget Allocation for Reskilling, 2020-2022

To promote reskilling, this primer aims to tell you the nuts and bolts of the skills development system in Malaysia. For those contemplating to reskill themselves, this primer is also intended to act as a handy FAQ to guide you through the reskilling maze.

What is skills development?

The UNESCO International Centre for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (UNESCO-UNEVOC) defines the term ‘skills development’ as “the development of skills or competencies which are relevant to the workforce”. According to the Industrial Skills Framework by the Human Resources Development Corporation (HRD Corp), there are three types of skills: knowledge, skills and competence.

Definitions for Different Types of Skills

Knowledge: Understanding of theories and principles in a field of work
Skills: Cognitive, practical and soft skills required to accomplish tasks and solve problems in a domain area
Competence: Ability to operate within unknown contexts, supervise professional development of individuals and groups, and manage complex technical or professional assignments

Source: HRD Corp

Conventionally, skills development in Malaysia refers to technical and vocational education and training (TVET). In recent years, policymakers and the media have adopted a more expansive definition of skills development to include ‘reskilling’ and ‘upskilling’, reflecting rapid changes in the labour market and the need to take up skills development throughout one’s career.

Definition of ‘Upskilling’ and ‘Reskilling’

Upskilling refers to learning new skills to meet the changing job demands for a current role or career advancement;
Reskilling refers to learning new sets of skills for transiting to a completely new job or new industry.

Source: World Economic Forum

Reskilling pathways in Malaysia

Malaysia’s skills development system was first established in 1964. Over the decades, the government has progressively added various training institutions, course programmes and subsidy schemes to support the reskilling of different target groups. Today, whether you are a secondary school leaver or a working adult, there are several ways to seek reskilling without necessarily undertaking the traditional academic pathway (Figure 2).

Figure 2: Skills Development Pathways in Malaysia

Source: Strategy Paper 9 – Transforming Technical and Vocational Education and Training to Meet Industry Demand, 10th Malaysia Plan and UNESCO-UNEVOC International Centre

The pathways that we explain below are those that are accredited by the Malaysian government. But first, we would like to note that for non-accredited courses, there are massive online open courses offered by platforms such as Coursera, Data Camp and Udemy. Because these courses and platforms do not have formal accreditation from regulatory agencies in Malaysia, it is up to individual employers to decide whether to recognise them as proof of qualification or competency.

Depending on your learning preference, you can either sign up for programmes accredited by the Department of Skills Development (DSD) under the Human Resources Ministry or the Malaysian Qualifications Agency (MQA) under the Higher Education Ministry. DSD-certified programmes have a stronger emphasis on practical industrial training whereas MQA-accredited courses focus more on classroom-based learning. Since both agencies now follow the same accreditation standards set by the Code of Practice for TVET Programme Accreditation (COPTPA), you will have the option to continue pursuing tertiary education regardless of whether you graduate from DSD- or MQA-approved programmes.

Currently, there is a myriad of training institutions and programmes available to choose from. According to the 2018 TVET Report, there are 556 public training institutions and 692 private training institutions spread across 7 ministries and 17 agencies. 

There are varying types of skills courses, including employability skills training, occupational standards certification programmes, PPP (Problem, Project, Production)-based learning and entrepreneurship programmes for different industries. Figure 3 below illustrates Malaysia’s skills development landscape.

Figure 3: Skills training institutions by ministries

Source: Strategy Paper 9 – Transforming Technical and Vocational Education and Training to Meet Industry Demand, 10th Malaysia Plan.

Note: The number attached to each box represents the number of institutions under the respective agency. Although the information above was published in 2016, there has not been a major change in the structure of Malaysia’s skills development landscape since then, except additions in new training institutions. Thus, figure 3 remains the latest public document depicting the Malaysian skills development system.

In recent years, the government has also provided a wide variety of opportunities for Malaysian citizens to learn new skills remotely. Several ministries and agencies have established digital learning platforms to host online reskilling courses, including Upskill Malaysia, e-LATIH by HRD Corp and Digital Skills Training Directory by MDEC. Most recently in April 2022, the HRD Corp partnered with the Higher Education Ministry to launch a micro-credential initiative to offer industry-recognised courses.

Sources of financial support

There are several sources of financial support from which you can apply to fund your reskilling programmes. Depending on the type of programme, you can apply for a low-interest loan either from the Skills Development Fund Corporation (PTPK) or the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) (Figure 4). However, these reskilling loans are only applicable to the accredited programmes offered by public and private training institutions, excluding non-accredited skills courses.

Figure 4: Types of Skills Training Loans

If you do not want to borrow and incur debt, you can apply for partial withdrawal of your EPF retirement savings (if you or your parents have one) to pay for reskilling courses. Otherwise, the government also provides financial support for reskilling to worker segments via HRD Corp and the Employment Insurance System (EIS) under SOCSO.

If you are a formal employee, you could request your employers to apply for training subsidies and allowances from multiple HRD Corp programmes, provided that your employers are registered HRD Corp contributors. Meanwhile, there are also subsidised HRD Corp initiatives for various target groups, including B40 individuals, school leavers below 40 years old with or without school certificates, unemployed graduates and retrenched workers. If you are an unemployed EIS contributor, you can access EIS financial assistance that provides a training subsidy of up to RM4,000 and an allowance of RM10-20 a day to reskill and gain new income opportunities.

However, not everyone can access the funding options on offer. As pointed out in our 2020 survey on delivery riders, it is not straightforward for those in need of reskilling to apply for the available financial support.

Conclusion

As highlighted in the 12th Malaysia Plan, the government plans to prepare the Malaysian workforce for the future of work. In addition, Malaysia has committed to achieve the Fourth United Nations Sustainable Development Goal, which calls for substantially increasing the number of workers with relevant skills by 2030. To attain these goals, the government has set up a National TVET Council in 2021 for tackling systemic problems mentioned in the 2018 TVET Report, such as fragmented and uncoordinated programs, underutilisation of training facilities, and the mismatch between the skills supply and industrial demand.

The skills development landscape in Malaysia has grown exponentially in the past six decades. Skills development is no longer confined to a segment of school leavers and the less academically-inclined. Today, skills development matters to millions of workers who seek to change or advance their careers and secure their livelihoods. In order to adapt to the evolving labour market demands and technological trends, reskilling and upskilling are becoming essential for many Malaysian workers. If you are one of them, we hope this primer has helped to provide you with an overview of the reskilling landscape in Malaysia as a starting point to guide you in making further enquiries.

Have you tried to reskill or upskill yourself with any of the options mentioned above? How was your experience? We would love to hear from you. Email us at editorial@centre.my.

Bilakah Penggunaan Hukuman Mati akan Diubah di Malaysia?

Hukuman mati sekali lagi menjadi tumpuan perbincangan awam pada akhir tahun lepas setelah video Hairun Jalmani tular di media sosial. Berusia 55 tahun, ibu tunggal kepada sembilan anak itu telah dijatuhkan hukuman mati di bawah Seksyen 39(B) Akta Dadah Berbahaya berikutan sabitan kesalahan pada tahun 2018. Hairun, yang menyatakan bahawa dia tetap tidak bersalah, telah dijumpai oleh polis di dalam sebuah bilik bersama 113.9g metamfetamin – jumlah yang bersamaan kurang daripada satu cawan.

Video tangisan Hairun setelah dijatuhkan hukuman yang telah dikongsi secara meluas itu telah mencetuskan semula gesaan supaya hukuman mati dimansuhkan di Malaysia. Namun begitu kes Hairun bukanlah sesuatu yang baru. Sehingga September 2021, lebih daripada 1,300 orang sedang menunggu untuk menjalani hukuman mati. Kira-kira 75% daripada mereka telah didapati bersalah di bawah Seksyen 39(B) Akta Dadah Berbahaya. Sebahagian besar daripada mereka adalah penagih, keldai dadah atau penjual kecil-kecilan dan bukannya dalang di sebalik pengedaran dadah secara besar-besaran.

Untuk perspektif, seseorang hanya perlu memiliki atau ditemui berada berdekatan dengan 50g metamfetamin (atau syabu) untuk dibicarakan sebagai pengedar dadah serius dan disabitkan dengan hukuman mati.

Penulisan yang mempersoalkan keberkesanan undang-undang dadah yang ketat di Malaysia dan kesannya yang tidak proporsional ke atas golongan yang rentan telah banyak disajikan untuk bacaan masyarakat. Oleh itu, desakan untuk memansuhkan hukuman mati boleh difahami. Ia bagaimanapun menimbulkan perbezaan pendapat yang ketara. Setelah Hairun dijatuhkan hukuman, suara-suara yang memanggil ke arah pemansuhan hukuman mati daripada tokoh-tokoh awam seperti Prof Datuk Dr Adeeba Kamarulzaman dan Ahli Parlimen Muar Syed Saddiq Syed Abdul Rahman telah ditentang oleh pelbagai kumpulan, daripada warga maya kepada tokoh-tokoh lain.

Perbezaan pandangan berkenaan hukuman mati ini tidaklah memeranjatkan. Tinjauan-tinjauan oleh media atas talian sebelum ini secara relatifnya telah menunjukkan tahap sokongan yang tinggi untuk mengekalkan hukuman mati; malah tinjauan sampel representatif (Semenanjung Malaysia) yang kami jalankan pada tahun 2019 mendapati bahawa majoriti kecil rakyat Malaysia, iaitu 60%, berpendapat bahawa hukuman mati adalah suatu keperluan. Kebanyakan daripada mereka percaya bahawa hukuman mati mempunyai kesan mencegah.

Walau bagaimanapun, kajian yang sama juga menunjukkan bahawa sokongan terhadap hukuman mati jatuh secara mendadak bergantung kepada jenis-jenis kesalahan yang dilakukan dan juga adanya faktor-faktor mitigasi. Bagi kesalahan pengedaran dadah kecil-kecilan, hanya 38% daripada responden representatif kajian menyokong hukuman mati.

Peratusan sokongan terhadap hukuman mati terus jatuh kepada 15% responden bilamana terdapat ketiadaan niat atau pengetahuan di pihak pelaku. Sokongan terhadap hukuman mati juga rendah bilamana terdapat keadaan-keadaan mitigasi, contohnya umur atau jantina – hanya 14% daripada responden kajian kami menyokong hukuman mati bagi kes seorang remaja yang dijumpai dengan 600g kanabis.

Pokoknya, pemansuhan hukuman mati secara mutlak adalah suatu saranan yang sukar untuk diterima buat masa ini. Ianya sangat mempolarisasikan, seperti yang dapat dilihat setiap kali isu ini timbul. Walau bagaimanapun, kajian kami berkenaan pendapat rakyat Malaysia tentang hukuman mati menunjukkan bahawa reformasi penghukuman boleh membawa impak yang lebih besar. Terdapat kemahuan di kalangan rakyat Malaysia untuk sekurang-kurangnya memansuhkan hukuman mati mandatori: bahkan, daripada 60% responden kami yang berpendapat bahawa hukuman mati adalah suatu keperluan dalam masyarakat, hanya 1% menyokong hukuman mati mandatori bagi semua senario kes tertentu yang kami timbulkan kepada mereka.

Namun, sekalipun reformasi penghukuman dilaksanakan, isu-isu yang lain tetap timbul. Sebagai contoh, limitasi atas pelaksanaan hukuman mati ke atas mereka yang datang dari kumpulan-kumpulan rentan masih kekurangan di Malaysia. Pada masa ini, hanya pesalah yang (i) di bawah umur 18 tahun, (ii) mengandung, atau (iii) mempunyai anak kecil dikecualikan dari hukuman mati. Masih belum ada larangan yang jelas berkenaan pelaksanaan hukuman mati ke atas pesalah yang mengalami isu kesihatan mental atau yang telah lanjut umur di Malaysia – bertentangan dengan syor Pertubuhan Bangsa-Bangsa Bersatu (PBB).

Undang-undang dadah yang ketat di Malaysia juga kurang mengambil kira faktor-faktor mitigasi seperti pengetahuan pelaku tentang jenayah yang dilakukan dan realiti sosioekonomi mereka yang dituduh. Walaupun pindaan kepada Akta Dadah Berbahaya pada tahun 2017 telah memperuntukkan budi bicara mahkamah dalam menjatuhkan hukuman mati (dengan beberapa syarat), mereka yang tidak mengetahui bahawa kandungan yang dibawa mereka berisi dadah dan mereka yang rentan berkemungkinan dipertanggungjawabkan pada tingkat yang sama dengan mereka yang menjual dadah dengan niat jenayah. Kajian oleh Monash University dan Anti-Death Penalty Asian Network (ADPAN) pada awal tahun lepas telah menunjukkan bahawa hanya 4 daripada 38 orang yang yang didapati bersalah atas tuduhan mengedar dadah di Malaysia antara Mac 2018 dan Oktober 2020 tidak dijatuhkan hukuman mati disebabkan penggunaan pindaan tersebut oleh mahkamah.

Sementara itu, fokus pada pelaku-pelaku ‘ikan bilis’ masih berterusan. Jabatan Siasatan Jenayah Narkotik (JSJN) Bukit Aman pada tahun lepas telah mencadangkan untuk mengurangkan berat ambang bagi kesalahan pengedaran dadah. Cadangan ini telah mendapat sokongan daripada pengerusi Ikatan Komuniti Selamat, Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye, yang telah menyarankan agar ia dibentangkan di Dewan Rakyat secepat mungkin. Jika diluluskan, cadangan ini berpotensi untuk menyebabkan hukuman mati digunakan dengan lebih meluas, melainkan reformasi penghukuman dilaksanakan.

Namun begitu, kedua-dua kerajaan Pakatan Harapan dan Perikatan Nasional telah menyatakan niat untuk menggantikan hukuman mati dengan hukuman penjara minimum bagi kesalahan pengedaran dadah di Malaysia. Menteri Dalam Negeri Dato’ Seri Hamzah Zainudin juga telah mengumumkan pada tahun lepas bahawa kerajaan sedang mempertimbangkan untuk membenarkan penggunaan ganja perubatan – suatu pandangan yang mungkin telah disebabkan oleh bantahan awam terhadap kes ‘Dr. Ganja’ dan lain-lain yang seumpamanya.

Di sebalik mesej-mesej yang bercanggah, terdapat tanda-tanda bahawa para penggubal dasar telah bersedia untuk perubahan. Persoalannya adalah, berapa ramai lagi seperti Hairun yang perlu menunggu sehingga perubahan-perubahan yang telah lama tertangguh ini dilaksanakan?

Stories from an Indebted Generation

In our four-part Indebted Generation research series, we addressed the quandary of student debt and recommended some key policy changes towards resolving problems related to current outstanding loans as well as longer term systemic issues with how higher education is financed in Malaysia. We also highlighted the declining – and increasingly less secure – returns of higher education in a labour market which is today beset with stagnant wages and underemployment. These developments are making a sizeable number of borrowers question the worth of their tertiary education relative to their student loans.

To better understand their views on student loan and its impact on their lives, we conducted a survey among borrowers last year. Among the survey’s findings was the split reaction among respondents about the worth of their education that were paid for via student loans: 59% agreed that it was worth the loans incurred, while 41% disagreed. Borrowers whose income is lower than RM2,000 a month were especially likely to question the worth of their education. We found this mixed response interesting and followed up with several respondents through interviews and focus group discussions. In this illustrated piece, we share a selection of what they told us about the factors that drove them to sign up for student loans, the challenges they face in repaying their loans, and the policy changes they hope to see with regard to higher education financing in Malaysia. 

* Some names mentioned in this piece are pseudonyms of the borrowers who participated in the interviews and focus group discussions. Quotes have been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.

Borrowers from low-income families tend to choose student loans as the default option to finance their higher education

Many student loan borrowers come from low-income households, a fact which is confirmed by both PTPTN’s survey as well as ours. When we asked about their family background during focus groups, some participants shared that they took up loans so that they did not have to burden their parents who were already struggling to make ends meet. 

We were in the lower middle income. My father was the sole breadwinner. I can figure out that he was struggling to make an allocation to pay for our studies because me and my sister were going to university at around the same time. We have another three brothers growing up. So yeah we were struggling financially, and hence I decided to take up student loans to not add to that burden.” – Shima

“After matriculation, I received an offer for university. Finance was a big problem for me at the time because my family was B40. My mom was a housewife. My dad had this small business (restaurant), and siblings were all studying at the time. I opted for PTPTN because I didn’t have much knowledge on scholarships either. I also took PTPTN loans for my master’s degree. So the total loan is around RM 43,000 plus interest.” – Hafizah

“The combination of unmet higher earnings potential and the burden of student debt seems to impact B40 borrowers disproportionately. PTPTN’s own study revealed that 97% of the loan defaulters surveyed were from the B40 income group. Defaulters cited high debt obligations and low income as the primary reasons for their non-payment.” – Indebted Generation, Part 1

Low-income students lack the know-how to access financial aid opportunities

We also found from the interviews and focus groups that students from low-income families lack awareness regarding scholarship and financial aid opportunities when it comes to tertiary education. Their parents do not know how to guide them since they did not attend university and had no knowledge of the process. Even when the students are aware of such opportunities, they lack the know-how, and in some cases, rule themselves out of applying because of low self-confidence and perceived inadequate results. Some borrowers shared that if they had known more about scholarship and financial aid opportunities, they would not have taken up the loans.

“I wasn’t the brightest student, and I did not know that many scholarships options. No one taught me to look at scholarships offered by MARA and state governments. On the first day of my foundation (asasi) registration, we were already given documents for student loan applications. “You just need to sign,” they said to us. After taking out the loan, I feel cheated because actually we have to pay back more. Nobody mentioned to me about the interest rate and I was not aware of how it is calculated. Now I tell people that if they can do part time jobs or apply for scholarships, just do it and refrain from getting PTPTN loans. I did that for my younger brother as when he wanted to pursue higher education, we knew better options already and applied for various things, like zero-interest financing by state governments. He didn’t take a PTPTN loan.” – Shima

My parents did not know how to advise me about college because they didn’t get to attain tertiary education. What happened was I got good SPM results, then by chance there’s this one lady at an agency who recommended me to look into needs-based scholarship and PTPTN loans. So I got a merit-based scholarship which partially covered the fees, and then PTPTN loans covered the rest. Total cost was about RM 90,000; we did not realize it’d be such an expensive option. But still, I wouldn’t have been able to complete my program, even after getting the partial scholarship, had it not been for PTPTN.” – Wong

For some, anxiety kicks in when they had to wait a long time to secure decent jobs

Graduate unemployment has been on an upward trend since the last four years. Coupled with loan repayment, this has caused a great deal of stress and anxiety amongst the borrowers who struggle to secure jobs with decent pay in their chosen fields. 

Among other things, our respondents recounted the harsh tone that was used to label defaulters, which in some cases were intended to shame them for not repaying, when the reality was that they were struggling to make ends meet. 

“Upon finishing, I did not work for 6 months and just helped my mom and supported my siblings. My father told me to wait to get something suitable in the field that I studied for. I actually started out with a RM 1,800 salary in Johor. Have to pay rent, plus I have to support my family back home. I didn’t pay back the loan initially as I was really struggling, and my younger brothers need my financial support also. I just tried to juggle everything and made sure everybody survived. I was in a bad financial situation and terima letter to remind me to pay back; there’s a warning, the tone is very penalising.” – Shima

“After my degree, I was unemployed for a few months. The same thing happened after I completed my master’s degree, and I was unemployed for six months. When I started kerja, I only got RM 2,500 with a master’s degree. Fortunately, after six months, I was lucky to receive a better offer. Tak semua orang akan ada the same opportunity, so PTPTN should take that into consideration. Sekarang gaji RM 1,800 pun tak tentu cukup makan, and benda ini (hutang pinjaman pendidikan) akan affect our monthly finances.” – Hafizah

“My first job paid roughly RM 2,500. I did feel some anxiety about my capability to repay back the loan, especially during the first (uncertain) year in the job market.” – Wong

“I was able to secure a temporary job 3 months after I finished my studies. But it took about 9 months to secure a job that suits my degree.” – Amalia

“I didn’t secure a job until about a year after I graduated. I was looking for a job for a while, and was doing some stuff part time. I admit that I didn’t fully pay my monthly loan repayments and there were some months that I did not make payments at all.” – Emma

“The 2018 Malaysia’s Graduate Tracer Study (SKPG) showed that almost 60% of graduates were or remained unemployed a year after graduation. PTPTN also found that more than one-third of their surveyed respondents earn below RM2,000 a month. More seriously still, the combination of unmet higher earnings potential and the burden of student debt seems to impact B40 borrowers disproportionately as about 97% of the loan defaulters surveyed by PTPTN were from the B40 income group.” – Indebted Generation, Part 2

Loan burden is a source of financial stress for B40 borrowers and targeted loan cancellation can help ease their burden

As stated by PTPTN, 55% of all its borrowers are from the B40 community. During interviews, our respondents expressed mixed reactions towards our policy recommendation to provide targeted and partial loan cancellation to alleviate the burden of low-income borrowers. 

Some of the respondents are of the opinion that a loan cancellation would not only bring about a positive impact on the borrowers, but also help secure the future of their families. However, others told us that such a policy should come with conditions.

“Growing up poor, we couldn’t even afford birthday cakes. Financial burden carries on in the family. Cancelling student loans for B40 students would greatly convenience their later adult lives because not everyone starts from the same level. It has a tremendous trickle down effect on generations to come.” – Wong

“Setuju (dengan penghapusan hutang) dengan syarat peminjam berjaya menghabiskan pengajian dengan cemerlang, aktif dalam kokurikulum, berakhlak baik, telah mendapat pekerjaan namun bergaji kecil, menunjukkan kesungguhan untuk membayar kembali pinjaman walaupun dalam jumlah yang kecil.” – Syah

“In order to abolish such debt, there must be something to be given back by the borrowers. Perhaps like working with government bodies etc.” – Amalia

“I believe you have to ‘give back what you owe’, but at the same time, I understand why some people cannot afford to pay back as I have been in their situation before. The whole experience of getting warning letters was very penalising. I believe ample time should be given for repayment, and borrowers should have the option to renegotiate their tenure, amount, and grace period. After all, they are not a bank!” – Shima

“Malaysia can and has implemented student debt cancellation to achieve assorted policy aims. To incentivise high levels of academic achievement, full loan cancellations have been offered since 2003 for PTPTN borrowers who complete their Bachelors’ degree with first class honours. To incentivise quicker loan repayments, partial loan cancellations have been offered since 2013 for PTPTN borrowers who can settle their loans in one lump sum or who repay their loans consistently. There was even partial student loan cancellation offered for lower income borrowers aged 60 and over in the 2019 Budget speech.” – Indebted Generation, Part 2

They want higher education to be less expensive and the current loan system to be reevaluated

When asked about policy changes they would like to see, most of them expressed hope for a more affordable, if not free, higher education which emphasises a needs-based approach. Some of them also called for the government to rethink its current higher education financing policy, which is heavily dependent on the loan system. 

“To me, education and health are something the government should provide for us. Okay je if they don’t provide cost of living allowance, as long as tuition fees and yuran asrama are covered. If not free for everyone, at least free for targeted groups like B40. Targeting the right group to receive subsidies is very important because jurang pendapatan kita banyak.” – Hafizah

“Education in general is a public good. Undergraduate attainment should be free because it has more trickle down effect on one’s life than one can measure.” – Wong

“I agree that we can afford to provide free education for our nation as long as we have a proper tax system and we let the experts run the education planning. For me, free education means every citizen is allowed to pursue education for free in any government institution with minimal fees for administration purposes.” – Amalia

“Tak setuju dengan pendidikan tinggi percuma kerana negara hanya wajib menyediakan pendidikan asas percuma saja sebagai keperluan kepada semua kanak-kanak. Untuk pendidikan tinggi, rakyat bebas memilih untuk meneruskan pengajian di peringkat tinggi atau tak. Bagi saya, keutamaan kerajaan harus kepada menolong peminjam golongan berpendapatan rendah untuk keluar daripada kelompok kemiskinan dengan mengurangkan birokrasi untuk pinjaman pendidikan tinggi,memberi subsidi/elaun sara hidup kepada peminjam golongan berpendapatan rendah, memudahkan peminjam golongan berpendapatan rendah mendapat pekerjaan, dan sebagainya.” – Syah

“I have some concerns about the different impacts of free education on ethnic minorities, for whom it is more difficult to enter public universities. I would like us to switch to a more needs-based admission. The minorities who are not earning as much are also the same people who cannot make it into IPTA. They have to fork out more money to get onto the same level of education (in private institutions).” – Emma

“My wish is that we can move away from the current expensive loan system that can be very penalising and pinching on people. Policymakers and political parties ought to reevaluate how the loan system works, and make sure there are sufficient job opportunities and security. Those are their responsibilities.” – Shima

“The government and taxpayers are already paying for a significant proportion of PTPTN borrowers’ education by paying the interest rate gap between PTPTN’s subsidised rate to their borrowers and the market rate PTPTN is charged by institutional lenders. It makes more sense to do away with this rather roundabout approach of subsidising a person’s education – replacing interest subsidies paid to financial institutions in favour of an outright tuition subsidy and cost of living stipend for B40 school leavers. It would also be beneficial for the loan administrator (i.e. PTPTN) as it provides some relief from managing a chunk of borrowers most likely to default on repayments. How much will this cost? Our rough estimate puts the direct subsidy cost at 1.3-2 times more than the current regime of subsidising student loans and covering default rates, conservatively assuming that all the courses financed are for degree programs and with a relatively high ratio of IPTS students.” – Indebted Generation Part 3

Conclusion

Our interviews and focus groups have provided a glimpse into the lived experience of  borrowers, and how their lives are affected by student loans. Their stories, coupled with our study last year, demonstrate that there is indeed a public appetite to reform Malaysia’s higher education financing policies. With the 15th general election (GE15) looming, our advice to parties and politicians seeking to get elected is that they should take into account the plight and voices of these student loan borrowers and reignite the public conversation on student loan reforms.  

Throughout this research series, we have repeatedly emphasised that B40 borrowers are disproportionately affected by student loan debt as compared to those from other income groups. In bringing the series to a close by presenting the real-life challenges that they face, we hope to convince both policymakers and the public on the need for progressive changes to bring about more affordable, accessible and equitable higher education for all Malaysians.

Email us your views or suggestions at editorial@centre.my

“Kaki Dadah”: The Need to Reform Public Perception Towards People Who Use Drugs in Malaysia

Early this year, a video of 19-year-old Daniel Iskandar being washed like a corpse as  ‘punishment’ for stealing a donation box in a Selangor mosque went viral. The video initially sparked public outrage, but perceptions quickly changed when news broke that the teen was found to be positive for drugs at the time of the recording. He was swiftly labelled with derogatory terms such as ‘kaki dadah’ and ‘penagih’

Reactions towards Daniel’s case is just one example of the long-standing stigma towards Persons Who Use Drugs (PWUDs) in Malaysia. His case is not isolated; similar reactions can also be seen, for example, to a 7-minute video published by local NGO Peluang in which  a PWUD shares her traumatic experience with the country’s legal process after committing a minor drug offence.

* We previously wrote about the impact of the over-incarceration of minor drug offenders on prison overcrowding in Malaysia here.

Person Who Use Drugs (PWUD) is an umbrella term that encompasses the spectrum of drug users ranging from minor drug offenders to drug users who suffer from substance abuse or addiction disorder.

Negative public perception towards PWUDs is hardly anything surprising in Malaysia, where decades of a war on drugs waged by authorities have inevitably left a lasting impression on the people. This sentiment, however, comes with consequences that go far beyond name-calling; research on the impact of stigma against PWUDs show that it significantly harms their recovery as well as reintegration into society.

Malaysia is not the only country with a history of a tough approach towards drugs. Ever since President Richard Nixon declared drugs as America’s ‘public enemy number one’ in 1971, countries around the world have followed suit and waged their own wars against drugs. A key aspect to supporting the anti-drug campaign has been messaging, which has helped shape negative public opinion towards not only drugs, but also drug dependents and drug offenders.  Policy documents, traditional media, and – nowadays – social media are some of the channels through which this sentiment has been shaped. Research has shown that wars on drugs are sustained through rigorous messages in government campaigns and the media, which in turn are used to justify harsher penalties for drug offences. 

In Malaysia, ever since drugs were declared as the ‘Main Threat to Society’ in 1983, the government’s messaging effort has focused on creating a hostile rhetoric towards drugs through the adoption of fear tactics — as seen in national campaigns such as ‘The More You Use The Less You Live’  and ‘Perangi Dadah Habis-Habisan’. To date, the national policy on drugs still reflects the same, punitive narrative towards drug use which tends to frame PWUDs as potential criminals who would commit crime to finance their addiction. 

Such narratives do not end at the policy level. Media reports of PWUD-related cases have long been profiling them as potential criminals or socially problematic individuals by nature. An analysis of 904 drug-related news articles that we conducted between August 2019 and January 2020 — after former Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad announced the Pakatan Harapan government’s plan to decriminalise drug possession for personal use — shows that media attention is primarily focused on the criminal aspect of drug-related issues; we found that 41% of news reports are on capture and arrest, 28% on raids by law enforcement, and only a mere 7% covered drug policy related topics:

On top of that, around 21% of all news reports highlight drug use prominently despite it being an indicidental factor to other crimes; 12% of all news reports also highlight the convict’s previous drug charges, further framing and suggesting an association between ‘drugs’ and ‘crime’ to the audience. While it has been some time since our analysis was conducted, recent headlines suggest that our findings unfortunately still hold. 

Such messaging approaches, both by the government and the media, only stand to reinforce an already hardened societal stigma towards PWUDs. A 2020 study found that stigmatising language such as ‘addicts’ and ‘abusers’ create more barriers for PWUDs to either get help or reintegrate into society. In the case of Malaysia, PWUDs struggle to access opportunities such as employment, education, housing, and loans. Stories from formerly incarcerated PWUDs would describe the hardship they face in finding shelter after being released from prison, causing them to go homeless. With the lack of social support, many end up reverting to old habits — as reflected in the steady increase of recidivism rate among drug offenders in Malaysia since 2015.  

Today, as policymakers consider more science-backed and rehabilitative approaches to dealing with drug-related issues in Malaysia, we believe that the way PWUDs are portrayed in government and media messaging efforts should also change. As a start, there is a need to be more discerning about the socioeconomic factors that contribute to drug use – an aspect the news media tend to overlook when reporting on drug related matters. A more holistic and constructive reporting method when it comes to drug related matters could help change the way society views PWUDs. As observed in the case of Canada, reforming the way the media reports news (by emphasising public health instead of crime perspectives when reporting on drug cases, for example) can and does bring about shifts in public discourse about drugs and PWUDs.

Understanding the factors associated with drug use – socioeconomic (as mentioned above) as well as demographic – would also give policymakers a chance to better strategise their preventive effort in the future and tailor more fitting preventive programs to different targeted populations. It could be a first step towards eliminating societal stigma surrounding PWUDs. 

Beyond preventive efforts, education is key in the long run. Educating the public with facts about drugs could empower them to form more informed opinions. This approach brought about a favourable outcome in Iceland, where the country saw a significant reduction of adolescent substance abuse after incorporating a multifaceted prevention program at the school level. The Icelandic government not only focused on compulsory substance abuse education,  but also emphasised on strengthening community and family support networks through various state-sponsored after school programs — something we could perhaps learn from to foster a more inclusive and rehabilitative environment for PWUDs.

Ultimately, people hear what they are told to hear when it comes to drugs and PWUDs. It will undeniably take considerable effort to reform the way we think about them as a society, but one that is important and long overdue. Until this changes, however, we should remember that those like Daniel deserve empathy, not derogation.

Room For Rent, Part 1

Home affordability is a perennial issue affecting Malaysians, particularly young Malaysians. Aspects of the affordability issue have been frequently highlighted, including by The Centre in a primer published last year. One key fact worth reiterating here is the yawning chasm between median house prices and annual median household income – this disparity has nearly tripled from 2002 to 2019.

Even so, every consecutive Malaysian administration has continued to encourage home ownership. Most housing-related policies – ranging from subsidised home loans to large-scale government-subsidised projects like PR1MA – have focused on supplying homes for purchase and reducing obstacles to home ownership, especially for the younger generation.

However, given long-standing stagnant wages and rising household debt levels, should home ownership continue to be the overwhelming focus of government housing policy? Or should greater policy attention be directed towards those who cannot afford to buy a house and have resorted to renting, such as the proposed Residential Tenancy Act? And finally, might there be shifts in housing preferences towards long-term renting, especially by the young, if there were greater protections and incentives?

These are the questions we ask in our new research series which delves into Malaysian youths’ housing aspirations. We seek to understand the push and pull factors associated with home renting versus home owning. We also aim to recommend policies befitting a fair society comprising both renters and owners.

In this first instalment of the research series, we first look into the ownership versus renting landscape in Malaysia, and present findings from a preliminary poll on housing aspirations.

Home ownership and housing policy in Malaysia

Like many countries around the world, home ownership is the predominant mode of housing1 in Malaysia. The 2019 Household Income and Basic Amenities Survey shows that home ownership in Malaysia is high and has continued to rise since 2010, albeit slowly: from 72.5% in 2010, to 76.3% in 2016, and most recently to 76.9% in 20192.

Within the context of Southeast Asia, the rate of home ownership in Malaysia is not unusual; only the Philippines has a lower home ownership rate at 64.1% (2019). Other ASEAN neighbours have comparably high rates of home ownership such as Thailand (77.4%, 2010), Indonesia (81.1%, 2021), Myanmar (85.5%, 2014), Vietnam (88.1%, 2019) and Singapore (88.9%, 2020)3.

Malaysia’s and these ASEAN countries’ home ownership rates are quite high in comparison to developed countries such as the United States (65.5%, 2021), the United Kingdom (65.2%, 2018), Japan (61.2%, 2018), Germany (50.4%, 2020), and France (64.0%, 2020). Switzerland, interestingly, only has a 42.3% home ownership rate (2020)!4

In the 1960s, the Malaysian government’s housing priority had largely focused on providing shelter for low-income households especially in urban areas. Public-funded low-cost housing, such as the Projek Perumahan Rakyat (PPR), allowed low-income households to rent or own a property at a subsidised cost.5 After the New Economic Policy was introduced in 1970, a 30% Bumiputera quota for the sale of new housing stock, as well as a 5 percent discount, were introduced to facilitate the community’s urbanisation and home ownership.

As the Malaysian middle class continued to grow in number, the demand for better affordable housing continued to rise in tandem, driven by an environment of rising house prices and cost of living. This has led to a significant shift in government policy over the past two decades – ensuring supply and ownership of homes not only among low-income households, but also among middle-income families.

Apart from increasing the supply of ‘affordable’ housing via new programs such as PR1MA, various financing incentives were introduced to facilitate ownership such as the My First Home Scheme6, Youth Housing Scheme, the Home Ownership Campaign7, the Private Affordable Ownership Housing Scheme (MyHome)8 and MyDeposit.

However, Malaysia’s household debt has risen to levels unseen before, from only 47% of GDP in 2000 to 93% in 2020. Given these high levels of household debt – which are likely an understatement of total household borrowings9 – it is questionable whether further policy support towards home ownership via easier financing is a good idea.

The ‘hidden’ renter-households

Malaysia’s relatively high home ownership rate masks an important fact: there is a significant proportion of households that do not own homes in the Klang Valley. As of 2019, home ownership rates in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur are 69.7% and 63.3% respectively, which are considerably lower than the national average of 76.9% (Figure 1).

Breaking down the data according to household income reveals a more stark reality. Only 52.5% and 45.3% of B40 households in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur own their own homes, which is much lower than the average home ownership rate for B40 households nationally which stands at 73.1% (Figure 2).10

The picture is similar for M40 Klang Valley households; only 65.4% and 51.2% M40 households in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur respectively own the homes that they live in. In comparison, the home ownership rate for M40 households nationally is 75.5%.

At higher incomes however, the home ownership gap between Klang Valley households and Malaysia overall closes. Overall, 87.0% of Malaysia’s T20 households own homes compared to 86.6% of T20 households in Selangor and 77.9% in Kuala Lumpur.

Thus, the data shows that a sizable proportion of B40 and M40 households in Klang Valley are renting relative to the rest of the country. Renting is likely driven by the lack of affordability in particular locations but are there other factors at play? To get a fuller picture of renting patterns and its determinants, we collaborated with market research firm Dattel on a short poll in January 2022 comprising an urban sample of 809 respondents.

Who rents?

Geography

Our short January 2022 poll presented a pattern similar to DOSM’s 2019 home ownership data, though because our sample is mainly concentrated in urban centres, it resulted in smaller differences between regions. The poll results showed that renting is more prevalent in Klang Valley (41.0%), the South Peninsular states (38.4%) and East Malaysia (35.1%). This is followed by those living in East Peninsular states (27.3%) and North Peninsular states (26.6%) (Figure 3). In all regions, except for North Peninsular and East Peninsular, the percentage of respondents who are renting is higher than those living in their own homes.

In terms of home ownership, the highest percentage is among respondents from North Peninsular states at 37.3%. This is followed by East Peninsular states (34.9%), South Peninsular states (31.7%), Klang Valley (29.3%) and East Malaysia (24.0%).

Respondents who are staying with their parents or relatives are quite substantial in all regions, ranging from 26.3% in South Peninsular to 36.6% in East Malaysia.

Age

Unsurprisingly, renting is higher among younger respondents compared to older respondents. 38.9% of respondents aged 20-29 are currently renting, followed by those aged 30-39 at 35.4% (Figure 4). It is interesting to note that a quite significant proportion of older respondents, i.e. those aged between 40 and 59, are also renting. The survey found that 34.1% and 25.9% of respondents aged 40-49 and 50-59 respectively are currently renting their homes.

A substantial percentage of younger respondents are staying with their parents or relatives. 45.8% and 31.2% of respondents aged 20-29 and 30-39 respectively do so compared to much lower rates among respondents aged 40-49 (20.2%) and 50-59 (5.8%). Staying with relatives become more common again among the oldest respondent band, those aged 60-69 (18.6%), perhaps due to ageing and caregiving needs.

Unsurprisingly, home ownership increases with age. The percentage of respondents who live in their own property is 42.8% for 40-49 age group, 60.7% for 50-59, and 67.6% for 60-69 compared to 12.2% and 30.5% among the 20-29 and 30-39 age groups respectively.

Top Reasons for Renting

The biggest reason for renting is the unaffordability of down payment, cited by 44.5% of respondents who are currently renting (Figure 5). However, preferring to live in a particular location is also a relatively big reason, chosen by 23.9% of renting respondents. 17.2% of renting respondents said that they were unable to qualify for a home loan. And lastly, 7.2% of renting respondents said they chose to rent due to the flexibility it offers.

Unaffordability of down payment is the clearest reason for renting across all age groups, except for the 40-49 age band (Figure 6). Location preference is a relatively important reason for the 30-39 age band as well as the 40-49 age band compared to other age groups. Inability to qualify for home loans is not a top reason across all age groups, which runs counter to many policy prescriptions on loosening loan qualifying criteria. Flexibility is the least chosen reason among most age groups though curiously, it is quite an important reason for the 50-59 age group (the small sample size of renters within this age group may be one reason for this result).

While down payment unaffordability is the most cited reason in all regions (36.2% to 48.4%), location preferences is quite an important reason for renting in Klang Valley (30.7%) and East Malaysia (25.1%) (Figure 7). Meanwhile, inability to qualify for a home loan is a relatively strong reason in South Peninsular (25.2%) and East Peninsular states (28.5%), compared to other regions.

Flexibility, curiously, is quite a significant reason for renting in the North Peninsular (14.2%) and East Malaysia (14.1%). One possible reason could be that respondents in those regions do not have a long-term residence expectation and plan to relocate to other, perhaps more urbanised, regions in the future.

Future Housing Aspirations

Overall, 44.3% of respondents aspire to buy their own home while 27.4% intend to continue living in their own home. 12.7% of respondents plan to stay indefinitely with their parents or relatives, while 12.0% look to rent long-term as a housing option.

Aspiration towards home ownership is higher among younger respondents at 59.7% and 46.0% among the 20-29 and 30-39 age groups followed by 38.0% of 40-49 years old respondents (Figure 8). The proportion drops drastically for respondents aged 50 and above, at 13.5% and 8.3% for the 50-59 and 60-69 age groups – unsurprisingly, given higher rates of home ownership amongst older respondents.

Therefore, it is also not surprising that the percentage of respondents who want to continue living in their own home is higher in older age groups. 70.6% and 65.6% of 60-69 and 50-59 years old respondents want to continue living in their own home. The figure drops to 38.5% among 40-49 years old respondents, followed by 24.8% among the 30-39 age group and 6.7% among the 20-29 age group.

Renting long-term is not a popular choice among younger respondents compared to older respondents, which we found surprising. Long-term renting as an option makes up only 12.4% and 13.7% respectively for the 20-29 and 30-39 age groups. A relatively high proportion of respondents aged 50-59, however, do intend to rent long-term (18.3%).

The preference for home ownership holds when we look at the responses from the perspective of regional location. Respondents with plans to buy a home or continue living in one’s property range from 69.1% to 78.2% across all regions (Figure 9).

The same predominance in preference for home ownership holds when we look at the pattern across gender categories. It is interesting to note that the percentage of male respondents (14.9%) who intend to rent long-term is higher than the percentage of female respondents (9.0%) (Figure 10).

Conclusion

The policy bias towards home ownership is a common one, particularly amongst Asian countries. One reason is home ownership’s tangible wealth effect, as property prices tend to appreciate in the long-run. Asian societies also traditionally view home ownership as a positional good which provides respectable social standing. From the policymakers’ perspective, home ownership contributes to social stability and rootedness in a state or country.

And yet, this policy bias is not without problems. Societal pressures towards home ownership, in a situation of relatively high house prices and stagnant wages, would likely result in even more unsustainable levels of household debt and stress. The bias towards home ownership also arguably takes away policy attention on making rents affordable and fair.

Based on DOSM data and our short preliminary poll, there is a significant segment of Malaysians who do not own homes, mostly out of necessity, but some also out of choice. Overzealousness in promoting home ownership will neglect the needs of citizens who are currently renting, and may ignore the needs of changing values around long-term renting in future.

Policy attention should not be confined to ‘upgrading’ tenants to homeowners, particularly when renting disproportionately affects low-income families in the cities; half of B40 families in Klang Valley are renting, perhaps for the foreseeable future, and thus require greater renter protection. Attention must be directed towards strengthening the legal and institutional frameworks underlying the rental market, which was also pointed out by Bank Negara Malaysia back in 2017.

The government is beginning to make this a priority. The Ministry of Housing and Local Government is proposing an enactment of the Residential Tenancy Act to prepare legal provisions to protect homeowners’ and tenants’ rights, prepare a uniform template for residential tenancy agreements, and to resolve disputes between parties involved in residential-tenancy transactions. Interestingly, it includes a proposal to create a new government entity to handle security deposits. While the enactment is in its early consultative phase (and has received pushback from developers and landlords amongst others), it is a timely intervention to regulate this long-neglected area.

In Part 2 of this research series, we will look into policies adopted by other countries and cities to make renting a viable long-term practice. Stay tuned.

  1. It must be noted that in Malaysia, the official home ownership rate includes informal housing, which is defined as houses built without development orders (i.e. this includes houses illegally built on non-private lands or on river bank reserves, or “kampung” houses built by the local community.) Such houses are common in rural areas, and are usually built haphazardly without complying to approved housing standards and regulations. Nevertheless, they are still considered as part of the stock of household-owned homes in the official data. This may not be the case for other countries.
  2. Source: 2010 figure, Khazanah Research Institute (2015); 2016 figure, Department of Statistics Malaysia’s Household Income and Basic Amenities 2016 Survey.
  3. Source: respective countries’ statistics departments.
  4. Source: Trading Economics.
  5. Projek Perumahan Rakyat (PPR) flats can be rented for RM128 per month, or bought for RM35,000 in Peninsular Malaysia and RM42,000 in West Malaysia. Prospective tenants or owners must meet certain eligibility criteria such as a household income not exceeding RM3,000 per month.
  6. The My First Home Scheme, introduced in the 2011 Budget, allowed first-time buyers to obtain loan financing up to 110% of the purchase price without needing to pay any down payment. This scheme was guaranteed by Cagamas, the National Mortgage Corporation.
  7. The Home Ownership Campaign, first introduced in 2019, and eventually extended to December 2021, was introduced to encourage home ownership by reducing cost of property purchase. Qualified participants would enjoy full exemption on stamp duty for properties up to RM1 million, partial exemption on stamp duty for properties up to RM2.5 million, and Instrument of Securing Loan stamp duty exemption for properties of up to RM2.5 million. On top of that, buyers can enjoy a 10% discount for properties listed under the scheme.
  8. The MyHome scheme, introduced in the 2014 Budget and lasted until November 2020, allowed eligible homebuyers to have their down payment paid by the government. The MyDeposit scheme, introduced in 2016 and which lasted until October 2021, offered a rebate of 10% of the house price or RM30,000, whichever was lower, to first-house buyers of properties priced below RM500,000.
  9. Unclassified borrowings such as ‘buy now pay later’ schemes are not yet included in household borrowing statistics
  10. B40, M40, and T20 Malaysia refer to the household income classification in Malaysia. B40 represents the Bottom 40%, M40 represents the middle 40%, whereas T20 represents the top 20% of Malaysian household income.