Minimum salary required to maintain a family in Malaysia

What is the minimum monthly salary a Malaysian person needs to earn to sustain a young family? Here are my estimates assuming the young family consists of a working father, a housewife and two dependent children.

  • RM1200 – Meals (30 days x 4 people x RM10 per person per day)
  • RM750 – Monthly house repayment (low cost housing for 30 years)
  • RM500 – Monthly car repayment (proton sage for 7 years)
  • RM300 – Petrol and road tax
  • RM300 – Children’s education fees
  • RM200 – Monthly insurance and medical bills
  • RM100 – Electricity and water bill
  • RM100 – Phone bill
  • RM150 – Miscellaneous

That totals to RM3600 per month. Assuming the EPF rate of 11% and approximately around 9% income tax, the working father has to earn a gross salary of RM4500 to have a take home salary of RM3600.

When trying to figure out the income distribution, I came across this article from Aliran published in 2004 that tries to address the same question I posed here. While I believe their estimates are more conservative and simplistic, the conclusion is similar.

Using their household income pyramid with my estimates shows that only slightly over 10% of the population earns RM4500 and above.


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