The Star: MHDR authors defend ‘staggering’ findings

Published 29 November 2014

KUALA LUMPUR: The authors of a report commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) are sticking to their claims that over 90% of Malaysians have no savings.

“Our findings may be staggering, but they derive from careful handling of reliable sources and address specific questions pertaining to inclusiveness,’’ the authors of Malaysia Human Development Report (MHDR) 2013 - Kamal Salih, Muhammed Abdul Khalid and Lee Hwok Aun - said in a statement yesterday.

Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz was reported to have dismissed their findings published in the MHDR as partial and misleading.

“In calculating household savings, the MHDR does not rely on World Bank data,’’ the authors said. “We clearly explain that the source of the data is the Household Income Survey, which was provided to us by the Department of Statistics and Economic Planning Unit, which are under the Prime Minister’s Department,’’ they added.

The authors also clarified that their findings excluded “forced savings” such as the mandatory contribution to the Employees Provident Fund, as households did not have immediate access to the fund.

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