KUCHING: The only way to fully eradicate poverty is by empowering children of the less privileged through education so that they can turn their family’s fortunes around, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.
He said while there are many types of poverty, the main root cause was the lack of education among the people.
“If we focus on education – children and their parents are given ample training, we can reduce poverty.
“That is why I hold firmly to the Chinese adage – ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime’.
“This is how we can change their fortunes. There have been many success stories about the poor who became rich because they have knowledge,” he said during an exclusive interview with New Sarawak Tribune today.
Abang Johari said if people take education in their stride, they can change their lives around within ten years – from their schooling years until tertiary education.
“I also urge the youths to step outside of their comfort zone and compete with the rest as we don’t want to just be ‘jaguh kampung’ or a champion in only in our own house,” he said.
The chief minister stressed that the onus was on the government to provide funding to develop education and make it accessible to all.
“We must provide funding for scholarships for example, by doing this we can change the lives of rural dwellers and if they have access (to education), they can change,” he said.
Abang Johari also said the impoverished must resort to resources available to them to increase their income, adding that agriculture could provide good returns if modern techniques were employed.
“The villagers, if they have a plot of land, they must monetise it. More often than not, the reason for being poor is that there is no cash. Why there is no cash? It is because their lands are undeveloped.
“But if they have the knowledge, they can develop their own lands and this can give them additional income,” he said.