In the news yesterday, it was reported that about 52% of the population in the country have income less than RM3,000. I am not sure how many are in the majority portion.
When we came back since last month, we really feel that the price of many consumer basic items especially foods have increased dramatically. They include rice, sugar, flour, fishes and meat, milk and baby items - those every day consumptions. Even small fishes like kembong and selar kuning could be more than RM10.00 per kg. In looking for a rented house, we could also feel that the house rental is also on the rise. We also brought Ammar for dental check and to our surprise it costs us RM200.00 for checking, cleaning and filling. That is the amount covered a year by our employer for a staff.
For us, this trend is worrying. With the price such as that even RM3,000 would not be sufficient to cover basic expenses. That is the amount of salary generally for fresh graduates in the country, depending on the sector.
Comparing apple to apple, we feel that grocery items are cheaper in Melbourne than the home country. Let say, we have AUD$3000 in Melbourne, the amount would be sufficient to cover comfortable lifestyle. We could get good rice as cheap as $1.60 per kg, fresh milk at $1.00 per litre, sugar and flour at $1.00 per bread at $1.09 (the supermarket brand only), Ainaa's formula milk $22.00 per tin of 1 kg, diaper $15.00 for about 60 pieces (supermarket brand).
Comparing the price to Malaysia: RM2.60 for medium quality of rice, RM5.00 per litre of a supermarket brand of fresh milk, sugar RM2.00, flour RM2.00 per kg, RM20.00 of 1 kg formula milk, RM26.00 for diaper (supermarket brand).
But, in contrast to us in Malaysia, medical and other services like car repairing and child care are expensive in Melbourne, but some subsidies are given to citizens.
Cooked foods, depending on status of the provider, might be more expensive in Melbourne compared to Kuala Lumpur. But pizza is cheaper in Melbourne - $8.00 for family size with abundant toppings compared to the popular pizza in Malaysia - RM23.00 for family size with not as much toppings. In Malaysia cooked foods are easily found sold by small hawkers and in night market. There is no such outlet in Melbourne.
We also found a fact which makes us wonder: The items that are imported from Malaysia selling in Melbourne would cost us the same price as in Malaysia, but the items imported from outside, let say Australia, selling in Malaysia would cost us the same value.
We give an instance: the price for kipas udang ketchup in Malaysia is RM4.50 last year (but now RM5.50). In Melbourne the price is AUD$4.50. When we arrived back in Melbourne next couple of month I believe it would be AUD$5.50. But the price for spaghetti in Melbourne, a good quality is about RM2.50 per packet of 500gm but supermarket brand is only $1.00. We also could get the instant sauce for $3.00 per bottle. But in Malaysia the price of spagetthi is RM4.50 the same brand, and the instant sauce is almost RM10.00.
Clothings I think are of same price between the two locations, but since the second hand good quality clothings are abundant in Melbourne, we could get more.
Whilst Melbourne record the most expensive housing rental in the world, we in Malaysia have the most expensive car in the world. Melburnians afford to pay cash for their first car as luxurious as Camry, but it is unlikely for us who may only afford to buy a small car 850 cc with the same amount of money.