UTM researchers led by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Siti Aisyah Panatik are conducting a study to investigate the critical predictors of psychological well-being among the B40 group in Malaysia. The findings of this study will help in designing a framework of psychological well-being in enhancing productivity and mobility among the B40 group in Malaysia. Policies and strategies can be drawn to help the B40 group to enhance their productivity and mobility through enhancing their socio-economic status.
T20, M40 and B40 are the Malaysia household income classification which is classified by percentage: top 20%, middle 40% and bottom 40%. Research that emphasizes on B40 group is intensely required in order to acquire the most appropriate strategies and policies that can improve the socioeconomic conditions of low-income groups. RM 4,360 is the maximum household income for B40 group which consists of 2.78 million households earning less than the range.
Poverty is a multi-dimensional issue where the world continues to make contributions to poverty reduction in line with 11th Malaysia Plan, a comprehensive development plan to achieve the Vision 2020 goal that will enhance inclusive development and well-being (Pillar II). Raising the income and purchasing power of B40 group, enhancing Bumiputera Economic Community (BEC), empowering minority groups and addressing the needs for specific target groups are the strategies in enhancing inclusiveness towards an equitable society. These strategies help people to get out of poverty as income is one of the important indicators of socioeconomic conditions and also help the people to improve their psychological well-being.
The socioeconomic status is strongly associated with psychological well-being, which is a measure of psychological functioning that reflects an individual’s positive engagement in a number of experiential issues. Health and disease history are widely known with the extensive role of socioeconomic factors. Many scholars have proven that income declines are associated with increased risk of mortality and higher levels of mental distress. As reported by National Health and Morbidity Survey 2015, 29.2% of the population that make up approximately 4.2 million Malaysians aged 16 years and above, suffered from various mental health problems and the statistics is startling as it escalates 11.2% from year 2006. Equally important, the economic transitions over the previous two decades led to a high living cost that outstripping the income growth. This clearly indicates that the income level heavily influenced the psychological well-being among B40 group.
Thus, individual, communities and countries are affected with these issues. A serious observation must be given on the economic trends and strategies must be taken thoroughly to improve the quality of life among low-income group. All the strategies and actions taken will reduce the impact that income level has on psychological well-being which eventually represents the economic stability patterns and the life quality of B40 group.
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Siti Aisyah Panatik
Integrity and Good Governance (IGG) Research Group
School of Human Resource Development and Psychology
Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities
Universiti Teknologi Malaysia