Low salary, lack of skills and migration among causes of urban poverty

KUALA LUMPUR: Low household income, lack of skills and the increased migration of rural folk and foreign workers have been identified as among the reasons for the rise in urban poverty.

Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad said this group struggled to cope with living in cities despite earning salaries exceeding the country’s poverty line and minimum wage.

“A Unicef report, which conducted a study of 17 low-cost housing areas, found that nine out of ten breadwinners had semi-skilled or low-skilled jobs,” he said, referring to the ‘Children Without: A study of urban child poverty and deprivation’, study commissioned by Unicef.

“One in three household earned less than RM2,000 a month, with 22 percent having three generations living under the same roof and faced child nutrition problems,” he said in his speech at the opening of the Fair Living Wage and Reality of the Urban Poor Conference here yesterday.

The conference, organised by the Malaysian Institute of Islamic Understanding (IKIM) and also attended by its deputy chairman Datuk Zakaria Hashim, discussed issues regarding poverty and fair living wages in terms of urbanisation, globalisation and Islam. 

Khalid said one way to overcome urban poverty would be to support a campaign encouraging employers to pay employees wages equivalent to the task carried out and their qualification.

“Fair wage will help the people, especially the urban population, to offset the rising cost of living,” said Khalid, who earlier launched four IKIM books – Faraid and Inheritance Planning: Frozen Property, Jurisdiction and Practice in Malaysia; Ageing Community: Reality and Challenges; Financial Summary: Islamic Financial Perspective; and Home Ownership: Reality and Challenges. – Bernama