With the rising cost of living, naturally the poverty line income would rise - but the Malaysian poverty rate has been kept low. The Malaysian government however in its BR1M programme acknowledged that households earning RM3,000 or less deserved financial hand-outs.
Selangor government has now raised the poverty line income to a more realistic figure of RM1,500-00 - maybe the Federal Government will also follow suit.
Acknowledgement of the fact that many are poor is not enough. In the most precarious groups would be the elderly (who then earned so little, and whatever savings would have run out by reason of the increasing cost of living..). For all those over 60, who are no more working and not under receiving pensions, the Selangor State (and Malaysian government) should consider monthly payments of a reasonable sum, maybe even a pension of about RM1,000 per month noting that the elderly is also subjected to greater healthcare costs - which include also employment of people to take care of them. Skills training, etc will not work for the elderly...
Why keep the poverty line income (or poverty line) low? Well, it creates a GOOD but wrong image that the country is doing well. But, we all know the problem is real - and poverty is a problem that no caring Malaysian can ignore. Adoption of neo liberalism will ultimately result in a few becoming richer and many becoming poor...and Malaysia needs to address this problem - if not we will end up like America - where the number of homeless or 'new poor' are growing every day...
21 million poor Malaysians in need of government financial aid? Poverty line income should be increased to RM3,000 in line with BR1M
Selangor raises poverty threshold to RM1,500
Menteri Besar Mohamed Azmin Ali said the new rate was “responsible” and part of his administration’s aims to raise incomes and broaden the middle class in Selangor.
After the revision, about 30% of Selangor’s 5 million residents will be classified as poor.
“As the country’s most developed state, Selangor cannot use the same poverty income threshold as Putrajaya. Therefore Selangor has set a threshold that is realistic and responsible which is RM1,500.
Selangor has tabled a budget of RM2.42 billion this year, its largest in history.
Azmin said the state government would increase funds for its two micro-credit schemes, Mimbar (for the urban poor) and Skimsel (for the rural poor) to encourage more of the poor to become entrepreneurs.
The total amount of funds for Skimsel has been increased to RM60 million while Mimbar will receive a total of RM40 million.
“All these programmes will be part of our hijrah initiative, to help the poor graduate to the middle class,” Azmin said.
Economists and analysts have in the past questioned whether the national poverty rate was too low given rising inflation, especially in urban areas.
They have argued that the RM830 threshold should be revised to another measure that more accurately represents the cost of food, clothing, rent, utilities and other basic necessities that an average family of four need to keep themselves afloat.
The PR coalition has always maintained that the national poverty rate of RM830 is not an accurate gauge of poverty as it is not enough to meet the basic needs of a Malaysian household.
Poverty researchers such as Jayanath Appudurai have in the past proposed that the poverty threshold or poverty line income for Malaysia be revised to RM1,886. – November 24, 2014.