Senator Susan Chemerai Anding

KUCHING: There is a need for the government to have a good plan to tackle poverty, said Senator Susan Chemerai Anding.

She said it is a good move for the government to raise the poverty line income (PLI) rate, but it cannot be denied that there are weaknesses in terms of monitoring on this poverty issue.

“Since 2005, the PLI at the rate of RM980 has recorded a total of 16,653 households that are categorised as poor. This figure has given the impression that our country does not suffer from serious problems in the issue of poverty.

“However, the PLI rate was revised and increased to RM2,208 last year. With this sharp increase, the number of households belonging under the poor category has jumped from 16,653 to 504,441. Such a large figure overnight,” she said when debating the motion of thanks on the royal address by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong at the Dewan Negara session on Tuesday (Sept 8).

She said the question was why the new indicators and criteria were not included earlier and the PLI rate is to be reviewed more often to prevent such changes in a sudden.

“This higher figure means that there will be unplanned use of resources and of course, our social system will be suddenly burdened in our efforts to fight poverty.

“If we fail to achieve the objective of reducing poverty line, this will also have economic and social implications in the future,” she said.

She said that she is also worried that in the next 10 to 15 years after the government managed to lower the poverty rate, a similar issue would arise again.