Government needs to review poverty rate

Anwar Ibrahim

KOTA KINABALU: PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the government should review the poverty rate in Malaysia following the United Nations (UN) report claiming that the national poverty rate is at 15 per cent and not at 0.4 per cent as reported in 2016.

He said study on poverty rates in Malaysia should be carried out and measured using the right methods to ensure accurate findings.

“I see poor people in almost every villages or Felda settlements in Malaysia. Therefore, I think the actual poverty rate in the country may be higher than the government’s 0.4 per cent.

Anwar Ibrahim

“I also think that claims made by the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights Prof Philip Alston that Malaysia has ‘very visible’ poverty rate and that the actual poverty rate is about 15 per cent, are true,” he said.

He said this at the Digital Native Agenda (DNA23): The Challenges and Way Forward held at the Universiti Malaysia Sabah (UMS), here last night.

At the same time, Anwar said the previous government (Barisan Nasional)’s implementation of poverty eradication programmes was not transparent and there were leakages.

“Up to RM28 billion allocation a year to help the poor but there were leakages and neither the fishermen nor the farmers received the assistance…

“We don’t want it to happen again as the help should reach the target and we need to identify the implementation method so there will be no more corruption and leakages,” he added.

On allegations that Sabah has been sidelined by the federal government, Anwar, who is also Port Dickson MP, said the previous government as well as the present Pakatan Harapan-led government have never sidelined Sabah and Sarawak.

“It is just a sentiment that should not have been raised. If in the past people used to say that the federal government has ‘robbed’ Sabah of its wealth, for example, timber, it didn’t happen as those who robbed the state were Sabah’s own leaders with some (leaders) from the federal level,” he said.

Meanwhile, commenting on the DNA23 initiative, Anwar said the government would address the problem of Internet network coverage nationwide, which now restricted the use of digital technology as emphasised in the initiative. – Bernama