The household income in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur climbed by a mere 1.5 percent a year from 2007 to 2009, far below the national average of 4.5 percent, a survey by the Department of Statistics reveals.
Together with Perlis, Kuala Lumpur recorded the lowest increment for household income among all states.
The Household Income and Basic Amenities Survey Report 2009, which was unprecedentedly made public last month, surveyed 45,805 families nationwide from April 2009 to March 2010 to, among others, measure the financial ability of Malaysian households from 2007 to 2009.
This is the first time the survey, conducted twice in every five years, has been released for public consumption. It can be downloaded here.
The main objective of this report is to publish statistics relating to household income distribution, basic amenities and the incidence of poverty in Malaysia.
According to the report, the average monthly household income throughout the nation increased from RM3,686 in 2007 to RM4,025 in 2009 or 4.5 percent a year.
The monthly household income of Kuala Lumpur residents was almost stagnant, from RM5,322 to RM5,488 within the two-year period, or 1.5 percent a a year.
Contrary to Kuala Lumpur, the adjacent Putrajaya saw an annual hike of 12.9 percent in household income, the highest among all states.
This may be due to the salary adjustment of civil servants, who make up most of the residents in Putrajaya, the nation's administrative capital, but the report does not interpret its findings.
Another surprising finding is the household income of Selangor, the most industrialised state, which only recorded an annual growth of 3.4 percent in the same period - which is also lower than the national average.
The survey revealed another unhealthy trend in Kuala Lumpur: only half of its households owned houses, far behind the national house ownership average of 71.4 percent.
This also made Kuala Lumpur the area with lowest house ownership rate after Putrajaya, which recorded 9.6 percent in the house ownership rate, probably due to a large number of civil servants staying in government quarters.
Penang, which like Kuala Lumpur also faces the issue of land scarcity, recorded a house ownership percentage of 75.2 percent, higher than the 64.9 percent in Selangor.
States with the highest percentage of house ownership were Perlis (84 percent), Kelantan (81.5 percent) and Perak (79.2 percent).
From the racial perspective, Chinese remained top earners in the country, with RM5,011 in monthly household income in 2009, followed by Indians (RM3,999) and others (RM3,640).
The bumiputera sit at the bottom, with RM3,624 in monthly household income, but this category includes all bumiputera in the peninsula, Sabah and Sarawak.
The report does not have separate statistics for Malays in the peninsula and the bumiputera in Sabah and Sarawak.