Dr Madeline Berma

KUCHING: A periodic revision of poverty threshold is necessary to reflect the realistic figures, says Malaysian Academy of Science fellow, Dr Madeline Berma.

She said this was needed to allow better development planning to eradicate absolute poverty.

“As an economic analyst who has been researching poverty, it is important to adjust poverty line incomes according to the figures that constantly change as time moves.

“The new mean value of the national PLI is at RM2,208, which is within the bottom 10 percent of households in the country.

“This means that the previous poverty benchmarked at RM980 is unrealistic as it does not reflect the realities of poverty on the ground today. It was calculated using year 2005 methodology,” she pointed out.

Revising the PLI, Madeline explained, would be more relevant if the PLI calculation periodically reviewed and adjusted.

“It is good that the government had revised the methodology for calculating the new PLI. However, the PLI also needs periodic revisions for improvement,” she said.

The new methodology, she explained, should not be fixated with one poverty measure as the single truth.

“The new PLI also needs constant revisions since the current PLI only reflects today’s consumption.

“It is consumption bias and focuses more on income. It does not take into account social mobility, wellbeing and the vulnerability.

“It also does not take into account household size as well as the differences in consumption patterns between regions and stratum like cities, urban areas, rural areas, interior,” she added.