Malaysia’s Klang Valley sees singles’ high monthly spending due to cars

A recently published spending guide reveals that single individuals residing in the Klang Valley region of Malaysia must budget a minimum of RM2,600 per month if they own a car, and at least RM1,930 per month if they rely on public transportation. The guide seeks to provide a comprehensive outline of expenses for those living in this area, encompassing Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, and Selangor.

The guide indicates that a single person using public transport in Klang Valley will allocate almost one-third of their RM1,930 monthly budget to food (RM610), followed by housing (a fully-furnished room rental at RM370), social participation (RM150), transport (RM140), discretionary spending (RM130), utilities (RM90), ad-hoc spending (RM90), personal care (RM70), healthcare (RM30), and personal savings (RM250). Car owners will experience similar budget allocations, with the main difference being a higher transportation cost of RM760 (29% of their total budget) and a higher ad-hoc expense of RM140. Notably, the transport cost for car owners surpasses housing costs.

The same spending guide ranks George Town in Penang as the city with the second-highest estimated monthly spending for single individuals, both for car owners (RM2,430) and those who use public transport (RM1,830). The third most costly city is Seremban in Negeri Sembilan (RM2,300 for car owners), and Johor Baru in Johor (RM1,760 for public transport users), while the cheapest city for both categories is Alor Setar in Kedah (RM2,060 for car owners and RM1,530 for public transport users).

All of the monthly spending estimates for Klang Valley and the 11 other cities are higher than Malaysia’s current minimum wage rate of RM1,500. The spending guide, produced by the Universiti Malaya’s Social Wellbeing Research Centre (SWRC) and commissioned by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), provides a reference for Malaysians to identify their estimated minimum monthly spending for a “reasonable standard of living”—encompassing bare essentials and a modest level of societal participation.

Car ownership in Klang Valley is estimated at RM760, the highest among the regions studied, and RM180 higher than Kuching, where the cost of owning a car is RM580, the lowest of the regions. The high cost of car ownership in Klang Valley is due to higher parking fees and highway tolls. In contrast, Kuching enjoys lower parking rates and toll-free highway access.

Transitioning from public transport to car ownership can significantly increase monthly transportation costs for singles. The SWRC notes that such a switch would result in a 433% increase in the transport costs for a single Malaysian, highlighting the potential financial burden of car ownership within Malaysia’s major cities.

World News

Lee Shuyi

Lee is an expat writer living in Thailand. She specialises in Southeast Asian news for the Thaiger. When she's not writing, Lee enjoys immersing herself in Thai culture and learning Thai.

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