Putrajaya will study need to review poverty line, says Mahathir

Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the 4th MyPerintis anniversary function.

PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad today said Putrajaya will study the United Nations (UN) human rights report that claimed the government uses a low poverty line that fails to reflect the actual conditions of the country.

“We will study and find out if it is true or not,” he told reporters at a function here.

He also said they will review the poverty line if it is necessary to do so.

UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston had said the official poverty line does not portray the actual cost of living in the country and excludes vulnerable populations in its official figures.

Alston said the government’s claim that poverty has been eradicated or exists merely in small pockets in rural areas is incorrect.

The national poverty line is currently set at RM980 per household per month, which would mean a family of four surviving on RM8 for each person per day.

He said poor people in Malaysia are also more prone to suffer from civil and political rights violations, such as in prisons and in the legal system.

Alston further called on Putrajaya to review the mechanism of measuring poverty to acknowledge and address the hardships of many Malaysians.

Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali later defended Malaysia’s absolute poverty rate saying it was based on guidelines in a UN handbook.

During a speech earlier at the 4th MyPerintis anniversary here, Mahathir told youths that he has seen many successes and failures in his time.

Mahathir, who is 94 years old, said some of these people had soared high and achieved great success.

“But as many, if not more, have floundered and fallen.

“Yet, it is the ones who were able to pick themselves up, persevered and recalibrated their direction that were the most inspiring,” he said.

Just like the proverbial phoenix, Mahathir said they went on to scale greater heights.

He said many learnt humility and that the bottom line, profits and losses are not the only things that matter.

“I am not saying that you must fail first to discover success. What is important is when facing failures you must never give up and turn it into an opportunity to learn a new lesson in life,” he added.

Mahathir also advised the youth not to rest on their laurels.

MyPerintis, or Malaysia Trailblazers Association, promotes youth empowerment, with its core focus on education, employability and entrepreneurship.

Mahathir said MyPerintis will now be a research think tank focused on the aspirations of youths and to undertake efforts to look at the impact of the disruptive technologies brought about by the Industrial Revolution 4.0 on youths.

He said youths can harness all these advanced technologies for their betterment.