J-KOM’s household expenditure infographic shows disconnect with reality on the ground

Malaysia’s Community Communications Department (J-KOM) infographic, titled ‘Is it true that groceries have gone up from RM200 to RM500 a month?’ – released earlier this week – got tongues wagging.

The infographic claimed that a family of four could survive on only RM99.45 a week, while a single person only needed RM58.65.

Not a single person I spoke to said the infographic was realistic.

According to J-KOM, the “essential items” for a family of four per month are 120 eggs, eight jumbo loaves of bread, 20kg of white rice, eight chickens (2kg each), 8kg of cooking oil, and one 12kg gas tank.

For a single person, it’s 120 eggs, four loaves of ‘normal-sized’ bread, 10kg of white rice, four chickens (2kg each), 4kg of cooking oil, and a 12kg gas tank.

So, a single person is supposed to eat the same number of eggs as a family of four – 120.

That works out to four eggs a day for a single person, and only one per day for a family of four.

The infographic also expects a single person to eat 10kg of rice, while a family of four eats 20kg, or only 5kg, per person.

Being single also means that you eat 8kg of chicken, while a family of four shares 16kg, or only 4kg of meat, each.

J-KOM director-general, Datuk Dr Mohammad Agus Yusoff, claimed that the weekly RM99.45, or RM397.90 monthly expenditure, was only for “essential items”.

If that were the case, where are the vegetables and fruits? Aren’t those “essential items”?

Also missing is milk – which is “essential” for growing children.

Whoever worked on the infographic clearly has never done grocery shopping. The initial posting featured a “10kg gas tank”.

Go to any shop. You will see that the tanks are 12kg and 14kg.

While the infographic was to counter the narrative that the cost of groceries had gone through the roof, it backfired as its calculation of RM397.90 did not include BASIC items, such as seasoning, flour, sugar, condiments, sauces, spices, fish, and other meats.

I have not even included tea, coffee, Milo, or drinks of its ilk. Water is good enough.

Agus said he stood by the data, as “that is the cost of buying essential items”.

Surely, many would like to see him survive on fried chicken, eggs, bread, and rice for just one month.

But perhaps we’ll have to wait as the posting has since been removed by JKOM.


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Parastoo Theater presents its latest play, ‘Red Soil of Kabul’, written and directed by Saleh Sepa.

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Queen tribute band, Break Free, will perform for four nights at the Zepp Kuala Lumpur from Sept 20-23.

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The northern Malaysian state of Perlis, a captivating destination with limestone cliffs, caves, and limestone monoliths, is now home to ClubRock Perlis, the country’s first-ever rock climbing base camp and eco-adventure hub.

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This version calls for lots of flavourful veggies in the meat (use whatever veggies you have in your house, it will come out great). Then, spoon a creamy mashed cauliflower on top!


The Beatles end this week’s Diary with ‘The Fool on the Hill’ from the 1967 EP and album ‘Magical Mystery Tour’.

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Until next week, stay safe.