Have Rci Into Poverty Scandal Urges Consumers Body


CAP says one only has to look at the long lines at the soup kitchens in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu or Johor Bahru to know that the official poverty rate cannot be so low. (Facebook pic)KUALA LUMPUR: Calling the “fudging” of poverty figures by the government a major scandal, the Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) said the crux of the problem is the failure of government institutions to develop honest, transparent and effective metrics to address poverty alleviation
CAP acting president Mohideen Abdul Kader today called for the setting up of a royal commission of inquiry to investigate “this scandal”
He suggested three key objectives:To establish an accurate picture of poverty in Malaysia;To identify institutional weaknesses in developing effective development and poverty-alleviation policies; and,To recommend urgent reforms of the government delivery system to ensure that it is poverty focused.Mohideen noted that UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights Philip Alston had said recently that Malaysia had been fudging its poverty measurements and that the official poverty rate of 0.4% was inaccurate
Alston further alleged that Malaysia’s official poverty line of RM980 was also unrealistic and that the actual poverty rate could be between 16% and 20%
Mohideen said: “What it means is that government policies of the recent past have not been effective in delivering development outcomes
“But because we have deluded ourselves about our success, we continue to implement the same failed policies
“This is a major scandal and deserves to be given the highest urgent attention by the government
“CAP applauds this finding as it supports an issue that we have raised many times — that the government has lost its line of sight on poor and vulnerable populations
“It has consequently implemented development projects that have not only failed to reach the poor, but have pushed the vulnerable further into poverty
“Mega reclamation projects such as Forest City in Johor and Penang’s South Reclamation are examples of development projects that negatively impact vulnerable coastal communities that risk pushing them deeper into poverty.”Unless this problem is fixed, the country would not attain the vision of a shared prosperity, as outlined by Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, he said
Mohideen said there were good tools to measure poverty and these should be used
“According to the prime minister’s economic adviser, Dr Muhammed Abdul Khalid, official data show that states like Johor, Melaka, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya had 0% poverty
“One only needs to look at the increasing number of homeless children and the long lines at the soup kitchens in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, Kota Kinabalu or Johor Bahru to know that the official poverty rate cannot be so low
“This is unless, of course, our officials are blind to what is happening on the ground and are deaf to the plight of the poor
“What we need is to recognise that our institutions have failed and they are in need of urgent reform
“But before we can reform, just like a person with an alcoholism problem, we first need to acknowledge we have a problem,” Mohideen said. - FMT

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