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Economist: Poverty rate among some groups comparable to parts of Africa

 | September 11, 2017

DM Analytics' Muhammed Abdul Khalid says this is surprising given Malaysia's status as a middle-income country.

Muhammed-Abdul-KhalidPETALING JAYA: The poverty rate among some groups in Malaysia is comparable to that in parts of Africa and South Asia, despite the official poverty rate of only 0.6%, an economist says.

In a report by The Edge daily, Muhammed Abdul Khalid who is founder and managing director of DM Analytics, said poverty stands at 33% among the Orang Asli, 20% among the Sabah Bumiputera and 7% among the Sarawak Bumiputera.

The poverty rate among the old also exceeds the national figure, while the prevalence of stunted children below five years of age is at 20.7%, according to a recent Voluntary National Review report by the Economic Planning Unit.

The DM Analytics chief economist said this was higher than the rate in some African countries, which was surprising given Malaysia’s standing as an upper middle-income country.

Instead of focusing on growth shown by gross domestic product (GDP) figures, he urged Malaysia to concentrate on tackling issues such as poverty, fiscal policy reform and increasing development expenditure for poorer regions.

“Let’s not get too obsessed with GDP. How GDP is generated, whether it is inclusive and sustainable are more important,” he was quoted as saying.

According to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), Malaysia has come close to ending extreme poverty, with income equalities on the rise.

It warned on its website however that pockets of hard-core rural poverty remain, especially among the indigenous communities of Sabah and Sarawak.


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