KUALA LUMPUR — Oct. 24, 2017: Various programmes and efforts by the government have helped to reduce hardcore poverty in the country from 3.8% in 2009 to just 0.4% last year.
In Sabah alone, it managed to reduce the rate from 19.7% in 2009 to just 2.9% last year.
Additionally, the people’s income per capita also increased from RM27,819 in 2010 to RM40,713 this year, with the monthly median income increasing from RM4,585 in 2014 to RM5,288 in 2016 for a nation with a population of approximately 30 million.
In his blog in the run-up to the tabling of the 2018 Budget, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak shared the tribulations faced by his administration in tackling the economic challenges since heading the government in 2009.
These include the 20-per cent drop in exports, the economy which shrank 6.2 per cent, the low wages that fail to compete with inflation, high poverty, disparity in income, frequent increases in toll rates, poor public transportation and rampant crony capitalism.
The lower-income group was also not excluded from enjoying the spillover in the increased national economy.
There was also an improvement in the B40 household income – which had grown to RM3,000 in 2016 from RM2,629 in 2014.
“As a result, our GINI ratio – which measures income equality – dropped from 0.441 in 2009 to 0.399 last year, the lowest in Malaysia’s history. Malaysia’s income equality has never been better,” said Najib.
At the same time, the cost of living issues hit those on low incomes the hardest, and this was why the government distributed RM5.36 billion in 1Malaysia People’s Aid or BR1M to 7.28 million households in 2016. Also introduced was the minimum wage.
Najib further hit out at a former leader who described BR1M as an abuse of government funds.
“It is frankly cruel-hearted for anyone in the opposition to talk of taking away a programme that is designed to help ease the burden of millions.
“Everything we have done has been for the good of the people. And that includes taking many tough but necessary decisions that were not always popular,”he added.
Najib also shared the development approach taken by his administration which gave priority to more equitable, more inclusive development and improved all sectors of the population and areas in the country.
The focus was not merely on the Klang Valley or the west coast alone but even more than that, included areas that had been neglected for too long.
Kelantan for example was sidelined and development funds for the state blocked and its water infrastructure not been improved for several decades by a former leader because it was ruled by the opposition.
“To me this is unfair because clean water is important in our life and it is the right of every Malaysian. So we have helped Kelantan with the restructuring of the water supply agreement made last year which will cost more than RM1 billion,” said Najib.
Also given priority are the water needs for people in the states also ruled by the opposition, like Selangor and Penang. — Bernama