Friday, February 16, 2024

ANWAR - No more hardcore poor in 3 States - True or False? Poverty line income must be revised to reflect current increased cost of living? Gift for those who highlight hardcore poor still in said 3 States?

Proudly, Malaysia's Prime Minister announced that there are NO MORE Hardcore poverty in 3 States - KL, Melaka and Negeri Sembilan. He is merely talking about HARDCORE Poor and not those who ABSOLUTELY POOR. 

Did Anwar LIE? Maybe he can offer a REWARD to anyone who brings out the fact that there are still HARDCORE POOR in KL, Melaka and Negeri Sembilan.

In Malaysia, poverty determination is not determined individually - but based on 'household' (meaning the calculation of total monthly income of all living within the said housing unit'. It could be 1, 2 or 10-15. Previously, household used to refer to the immediate family unit father, mother and 3-4 kids, but not so anymore.

The hardcore poor refers to households with a monthly income of less than RM1,169, while those in absolute poverty have an income of less than RM2,208.

The figures determining hardcore poverty and poverty, I believe is still the 2020 figures, but we all know that the Malaysian cost of living, including food prices have been going up and up. Hence, should not the poverty line incomes be reviewed to reflect the real situation today. What is the poverty line income for 2024? Should there be different poverty line income for rural areas and urban areas, as the cost of living differs? Should there be a calculation of poverty line income for an individual, a family unit,.. rather than a household? Poor adults with low income may share the same house, sometimes with 5-15(or more) sharing the same living accommodation?

Is the income of RM1,169 sufficient for house rental/etc, utility bills, phone, food for maybe 5 in the household, transportation, clothing, etc? Even for an individual in Malaysia in February 2024, this will be far from adequate, so will it be sufficient even for a family unit with 2/3 kids?In Malaysia, the poor can live sometimes - but then they or their kids may really be malnourished?

In Malaysia, the incidence of poverty is defined as the percentage of households that has a gross monthly household income lower than the poverty line income. The government revised the national poverty line to RM2,208 in 2020 from RM980 previously. Consequently, the number of households living under the poverty line increased to 5.6 percent in 2020, according to the latest figures from the World Bank.

What exactly did the government do to alleviate 'hardcore' poverty - was it merely a temporary measure of providing sufficient monetary aid to simply increase the household income beyond RM1,169.00? Should it not be a more permanent measures - maybe getting of better employment(permanent) or income generation activities...The Welfare Department talks about skills training, income generating opportunities... Anwar should reveal how hardcore poverty was overcome in the 3 States - KL, Selangor and Negeri Sembilan.

▪ Provide skills training and income generation opportunities for productive group, e.g., in agro-based industries through funding, management,training, and marketing programmes
▪ Provide welfare aid and other forms of support to eligible applicants
▪ Develop self-reliance through mindset change programme
With regard to WELFARE AID, should the law be amended to provide for higher welfare aid? Now, for the needy  is 2017 as stated below. Has this been amended? It is important that AID for the poor and needy not simply be up to the government of the day - BUT it must be made a right and obligatory by means of amendments to the relevant Acts of Parliament.

Among the help that is available for the poor and elderly in Malaysia is the financial aid of RM300 on a monthly basis. ..Aid’s available for disabled individuals from the Department of Social Welfare Malaysia are:RM350 monthly income maintenance. This is available for disabled people who are working either under an employer or self-employed with a salary below RM1,200.RM200 monthly financial assistance for disabled individuals without a job..single mothers can apply to receive financial aid to temporarily ease their burden.Child helpminimum: RM100 per month, per child..Maximum: RM450 per month if there are more than 4 children involved -

Source: 6 government aids and subsidies to help you save money in 2017

Maybe, the Federal Constitution ought to be amended to provide all the right to food, shelter, clothing and healthcare. Maybe another amendment to provide us with the right to a clean and healthy environment. YES, when it is part of the CONSTITUTION, it becomes the government's duty and responsibility to ensure that all in Malaysia enjoys these rights, and for the poor, it becomes the  the government's duty and responsibility that they have proper housing, food, shelter,... no more up to the whims and fancy of any government of the day...

Employment and steady income can be provided by the government(Federal Government, State Government and Local Government) - the poor can be employed to carry out works like cleaning, grass cutting and management of gardens... many of which is now being done by migrant workers of private companies. A poor family could be housed in a school area, while the father/mother could be employed to maintenance cleanliness of the school and the upkeep of the garden.. the presence of the family also will assist in 'security' of the premises, would it not. .. There are ways in which the government can eliminate poverty.

Identifying the poor and the hardcore poor may be assisted by the MANDATORY requirement that all adults must submit Income Tax returns, wherein which they would have to list their gross annual income(from whatever source) - in this way, the government can more easily identify the poor that require assistance. Tax returns irrespective of whether you are liable to pay tax or not??

ZAKAT goes to the State, how can the Federal Government work with State Governments to address the question of poverty in Malaysia(in all 13 States and 3 Federal Territories). There must be coordination? Or should each and every State transmit all monies it collected as Zakat for the Federal Government to use it to deal with poverty?

There are 13 States and 3 Federal Territories, and until HARDCORE POVERTY is eliminated in Malaysia, there is nothing to be proud of.

Talking about HOUSING - maybe the government to build and have their own housing units to be then rented out to the hardcore and absolute poor at a minimal rental. The availability of low cost houses to be bought may do no good for the poor...

LOW COST HOUSING must be used by the intended - not to be rented out or sold for profit to another. Maybe a law that reverts the ownership of low cost housing units, if it is found that the unit is not being used by the intended as required. [There were allegations that in the past, there was much abuse - low cost units ended up with cronies/friends - not in the hands of the truly poor who needed houses. ]

No more hardcore poor in KL, Melaka and Negeri Sembilan, says PM

Anwar Ibrahim says programme has targeted people in need regardless of race, despite doubts in some communities.

Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and ACCCIM president Low Kian Chuan at the Chinese New Year event today. On Anwar’s right are deputy prime minister Fadillah Yusof and Dewan Rakyat Speaker Johari Abdul. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Efforts to eradicate extreme poverty in Kuala Lumpur, Melaka and Negeri Sembilan have been 100% successful, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim said.

He said this drive to eradicate hardcore poverty encompassed all races and was not specific to Malays, Bernama reported.

“In Kuala Lumpur, although the majority are Malays, there is a proportionately high Indian population.

“We have assisted every Indian family in Kuala Lumpur to break free from hardcore poverty. This is our approach, but sometimes we face community leaders who doubt the allocation for Indians.

“For me, we will address every hardcore poor person, regardless of whether they are Chinese, Malay or Indian.

“In Kuala Lumpur, Melaka and Negeri Sembilan, based on the figures we have obtained, we have achieved 100% (success),” he said at the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia Chinese New Year celebration in Kuala Lumpur today.

Anwar has made eradicating hardcore poverty a key aspect of his Madani agenda. - FMT, 15/2/2024

No more excuses for hardcore poverty, Anwar tells state zakat agencies
Published on: Friday, February 16, 2024
By: FMT, Predeep Nambiar
Text Size:

No more excuses for hardcore poverty, Anwar tells state zakat agencies
Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim delivering his speech at the Penang International Zakat Conference at Universiti Sains Malaysia in George Town, Penang, today.
GEORGE TOWN: There can be no more excuses for hardcore poverty in the country given the sizeable zakat (tithes) collections in several states, says Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim.

Anwar said the primary objective of zakat is to help the poor. As such, he said, state zakat authorities are obliged to prioritise the eradication of hardcore poverty.

“Zakat is not about generating revenue for the country. It is an institution dedicated to eradicating poverty,” he said when opening the Penang International Zakat Conference at Universiti Sains Malaysia here.

“I cannot accept the fact that there are people who remain in the hardcore poor bracket despite states collecting large sums as zakat.”
Since becoming prime minister in 2022, Anwar has made eradicating hardcore poverty one of his key missions.

Yesterday, the prime minister commended the success of efforts to eradicate extreme poverty in Kuala Lumpur, Melaka and Negeri Sembilan.

“Based on figures we have obtained, we have achieved 100% success in Kuala Lumpur, Melaka and Negeri Sembilan,” he said at the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia’s (ACCCIM) Chinese New Year celebrations in Kuala Lumpur.

Last December, Negeri Sembilan menteri besar Aminuddin Harun announced that his state had successfully eradicated hardcore poverty, with 3,530 households moving out of the lowest bracket of poverty.

The hardcore poor refers to households with a monthly income of less than RM1,169, while those in absolute poverty have an income of less than RM2,208. - Daily Express, 16/2/2024



KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 (Bernama) — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the National Economic Action Council (MTEN) meeting he chaired today agreed on three proposals to end hardcore poverty in the country.

Anwar said MTEN agreed that special monthly cash assistance would be considered to overcome the food poverty line (PGK) for households unable to participate in income-generating activities due to age and health factors.

All agencies and ministries will conduct a review and update the data to confirm the number of recipients who have been given assistance and generate income exceeding the food PGK in 2023.

“All agencies need to identify households which can participate in the programme in the remaining three months and be absorbed in other suitable programmes,” he said in a statement issued after the MTEN meeting today.

He added that today’s meeting was also informed about the status of implementation and efforts in eliminating hardcore poverty as well as the challenges faced.

He said that several efforts and programmes have been implemented by the government to eradicate hardcore poverty, including programmes related to monthly cash assistance, home upgrading, providing business capital, skills training and income-generating activities.

“These efforts have already been implemented by various ministries and agencies to help people to break away from the shackles of hardcore poverty.

Meanwhile, Anwar said the meeting had examined and found that the actual development expenditure was shrinking every year, although the budget showed a large increase and this could have a long-term impact on the country’s economic growth.

Apart from that, the implementation of development projects which are problematic and experience delays in implementation has caused an increase in costs and impacted the economy negatively.

He added that the meeting also found that determining the specifications and cost evaluation of information and communications technology (ICT) projects effectively was difficult to do, and it was also challenging to do a cost review process without a standard cost estimate.

He said the situation could lead to duplication of work and an increase in the cost of ICT projects.

In this regard, he added that the government will take immediate action to improve the processes in the implementation of development expenditure (DE) projects.

He said this would include the setting up of an inter-ministerial team, namely the Ministry of Economy; Implementation Coordination Unit (ICU); Ministry of Finance; Public Works Department; Department of Irrigation and Drainage; Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU) and related departments to review and prepare a framework on improvement, to be approved by the government.

Anwar said other actions were policy decisions towards decentralisation and empowerment of project implementation and control of allocations to implementing agencies, balanced with strict governance.

He said another action is a policy decision towards centralisation of ICT project implementation and determination of specifications/costs at MAMPU to control costs and in preparation towards GovTech.



Hardcore poverty: It is expensive to be poor

KUALA LUMPUR: In this quiet little hamlet, smack dab in the middle of the sprawling metropolis that is Kuala Lumpur, dozens of people stand in line patiently to receive food aid, a daily occurrence for many.

One woman easily stood out from the throng, her wizened brown countenance setting her apart. She is small and stick-thin, her bony body slightly bowed as if burdened by the passing years and life. Despite that, she is quite spry for her age which she, after several meetings, divulges is 74.

She tells Bernama she recently returned to the soup kitchen in Medan Tuanku here, organised by Pertubuhan Tindakan Wanita Islam (Pertiwi), after stopping for a few years. She had no choice after losing her life savings to a scammer, she says.

"I lost RM31,000. He (the scammer) told me he was going to give me Eid money. It was like I was hypnotised. I went to the bank, signed the paper. I thought he was going to put the money in, but he took the money out instead. Everything is gone," she said, upset.

"I didn't eat for two days. All I could do was cry."

What really upsets her is that she feels she has run out of options as she is unable to work and dependent on the RM500 monthly stipend she receives from the Social Welfare Department (JKM). She contemplates returning to Kelantan where she has family but is afraid her situation will be worse over there. 

At least here, she says she has a home. She is renting a low-cost apartment unit for RM150 monthly together with her 28-year-old adopted son. A daily wage earner, he gives her money when he can. Otherwise, they both depend on her JKM allowance. So far, her son has not been able to get a permanent position.

With the loss of her savings, life has become more precarious. She and her son are likely one major health emergency away from being completely destitute. Even now, she complains of stomach ache and pain in her knees. 

In this, she is emblematic of the risks and lack of choices some two million people living in abject poverty in Malaysia face, an issue Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim has vowed to alleviate, if not eradicate. It is an uphill battle, however, with many tangential issues that will need tackling in tandem.


In Malaysia, the incidence of poverty is defined as the percentage of households that has a gross monthly household income lower than the poverty line income. The government revised the national poverty line to RM2,208 in 2020 from RM980 previously. Consequently, the number of households living under the poverty line increased to 5.6 percent in 2020, according to the latest figures from the World Bank.

For decades, Malaysia has provided assistance to the poor and lower-income groups with targeted subsidies and financial assistance. While it has largely worked, lifting Malaysians from a 50 percent poverty rate in the 1970s to less than 10 percent now, there remain pockets of poverty in rural areas as well as in urban areas.

Experts say alleviating hardcore poverty is not that easy although they lauded the effort. While there are many facilities and services available for the poor, gaining access to such services can be a challenge in a multitude of ways. 

In short, many people in abject poverty cannot afford the cost of being poor.

Economist and former Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) commissioner Prof Datuk Dr Madeline Berma, who has done a lot of research on poverty, said Malaysia uses the targeted approach method, where the indigent and poor have to register with the government first and then undergo the process of verification. This can be a stumbling block for many poor people.

"You have to be registered in e-kasih (National Poverty Data Bank System) in order for you to qualify for support. So if you are a Penan living seven days walking distance (from the nearest assistance centre) and you don't know about e-kasih then how are you supposed to register?" she said.

She said even when people have managed to register themselves, they may still face obstacles such as transportation. Depending on where they live, some can ill-afford the cost of travelling to the district office which is responsible for disseminating aid and financial assistance to the poor.

She gave the example of getting financial aid in Sarawak: "In the old days, the JKM allowance was RM70. The cost of traveling from the longhouse to the district office to get that assistance will cost you about RM30 to RM40 by boat.

"For the poor, the most expensive thing in their budget is food. Next is transport. If we can address these two issues, it will help a lot in terms of (alleviating poverty)," she added.


For decades, Malaysia has provided assistance to the poor and lower-income groups with targeted subsidies and financial assistance. - File pic
For decades, Malaysia has provided assistance to the poor and lower-income groups with targeted subsidies and financial assistance. - File pic


One visually-impaired man Bernama talked to knows very well what it means to spend what little money he has to collect money and assistance to survive. The 62-year-old man, who asked to be identified only as Low, takes a bus from Rawang to Kuala Lumpur and then the MRT to the soup kitchen every day without fail.

He gets three packs of free food, consisting of rice, a protein dish and vegetables, for his breakfast, lunch and dinner. He leaves at 11 am every day to make sure he arrives on time so as not to risk the soup kitchen running out of food. He then takes the MRT and bus back home. 

Low said he receives RM300 a month from JKM. His travelling expenses per month alone come to at least RM110.  He lives in an illegal dwelling rent-free on someone else's land which allows him to save a little money. He tries not to spend more than necessary.

"What I don't use, I put into (my EPF account). I don't want to use the money," he said, adding he has RM20,000 in the account. He has already earmarked the money for an old folks home when the time comes.

He has no family, save for a sister who lives away from him. The house itself is very sparse, he said, equipped only with a kettle, washer, bed and radio. 

Low said he does not find his daily travel too arduous although he gripes about the state of facilities for the disabled at some of the stations. Being legally blind, the lack of working elevators in some places puts him at risk of falling,

Disability advocate Murugeswaran Veerasamy, who prefers to be called Muru, said improving disability access everywhere, not just in public transportation, will help reduce abject poverty overall. 

Although Malaysia does not have exact figures on the number of disabled people living in abject poverty, research has found that many disabled Malaysians are unable to earn an income. This includes the elderly, who become more physically disabled as they get older, even if they remain mentally alert.

"The quota (for hiring disabled persons) in the government sector and private sector is one percent. At the moment, I think only 0.02 percent of employees are disabled whereas this quota system was implemented (decades ago)," said Muru.

He and other experts warned that policies to alleviate poverty cannot have a one-size-fits-all kind of solution. As such, Muru said part of disability access means the assistance should be tailored to what the people need.

"Identify and separate them and give them the proper assistance so they can contribute to themselves, to the family and to the country. If we give them proper guidance, they can do well," he said.



But identification and classification can be a sign of some privilege as well, presenting insurmountable obstacles to some who are hardcore poor. Much of the poverty assistance in Malaysia is reserved for Malaysians which requires documentation. 

Experts said the lack of documentation among the poor is a common issue that continues the cycle of poverty. 

Pertiwi president Datuk Munirah Abdul Hamid told Bernama she would not be surprised if the number of people living in abject poverty is higher than the governmental figures.

"It's always the privileged who are able to get classification, the rest fall in the margins," she said.

Mega, a 38-year-old homeless woman, can attest to the state of limbo being undocumented brings. She used to live with her mother, an Indonesian domestic worker, in a shophouse. She never knew her father who may or may not be Malaysian.

 Now her mother is dead. She told Bernama she does not have a birth certificate. She has never been to school, only learning how to read and write from friends. She does not know if her parents were married and if her father was Malaysian which would have qualified her for assistance from the government.  

Being undocumented, she cannot be employed formally which makes it difficult for her to earn an income or afford her HIV medication.

Despite her hardship, she is friendly and quick to smile, despite missing some teeth.

"Life is hard now. I'm still happy but I miss my mother," she said.

Dr Berma said many among the hardcore poor lacked awareness of the importance of getting the necessary documentation. She acknowledged that registering for MyKad was a lengthy process, usually taking a whole day, which is difficult for daily wage earners who may have to give up a day's wages or those who live far away.

However, she said it was a necessity.

"If they know the importance of their children having their identity cards, then they would really do it," she said, adding the process could be simplified. -- BERNAMA, NST, 23/6/2023

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