Monday, December 10, 2007

Hardcore poverty in rural areas involves all races

from The New Straits Times

The Hindu Rights Action Force’s (Hindraf) allegation that the Indians have been oppressed and constitute the poorest segment of the Malaysian society is a lie, the Dewan Negara was told today.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Senator Datuk Abdul Raman Suliman said the poor does not involve only the Indians but other races including the Malays as well.

He said the government, through its poverty eradication policy, managed to reduce national poverty from 49 percent in 1970 to 5.7 percent this year.

“This shows we have managed to reduce poverty by 43.3 percent targeted for all races including in Sabah and Sarawak,” he said in reply to Senator Datuk Yaakob Mohamad.

Yaakob wanted to know whether there is any truth to Hindraf’s claim that poverty among the Indians is higher compared to other races and whether they have been oppressed.
Raman said that to eliminate hardcore poverty completely by 2010, the government had approved a strategic plan and an improvement to the Poverty Eradication Programme.

These include the use of a standard definition for poverty, setting up of the National Poverty Databank, use of poverty mapping as a technical tool for strategic planning and setting up of focus groups at the federal, state and district levels to strengthen the poverty eradication mechanism.

He said the government also constantly reviewed the projects and aid for the poor because the dimension of poverty changed over time.

“The productive poor will be separated from the sick and old, and the non-productive will be assisted,” he said.

He said that until June 30, 66,989 poor households had been identified in rural areas. The statistic shows that Sabah has the highest number with 21,566 followed by Kelantan 14,326 while Penang has the lowest with 196.

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