Discuss UN’s poverty findings, PKR urges Putrajaya

UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston visiting a poverty-stricken area. (Facebook pic)

PETALING JAYA: The government was urged by PKR today to discuss a poverty report by a senior United Nations official which alleged that Malaysia was severely under-reporting poverty in the country.

The party said a review of the report would help in planning effective economic programmes for the benefit of the B40 low-income group.

The report was discussed at the party’s monthly leadership meeting, chaired by PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, and the party’s position on the matter was stated in one paragraph of a statement after the meeting.

The statement comes a day after Economics Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali, who is also PKR deputy president, had disputed the UN’s findings.

UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston had said last week that Malaysia’s official poverty line did not portray the actual cost of living in the country and excluded vulnerable populations in its official figures.

“While Malaysia has achieved undeniable impressive growth in reducing poverty in the last 50 years, the official claim that poverty has been eradicated or exists merely in small pockets in rural areas is incorrect and has crippled policy-making,” he had said in a statement after an 11-day visit.

However, Azmin had defended Malaysia’s official poverty figure of 0.4% and described the UN report as being “misconceived, erroneous and clearly lacks empirical evidence and rigorous scientific analysis”.

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.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has said the government will study the UN report on poverty in Malaysia and take corrective measures.

On another matter, PKR said a total of 9,509 new members had joined the party between July 16 and Aug 15.

A total of 220 party divisions have been registered as of Aug 15 2019, it said in a statement.

As such, PKR had registered divisions in almost every parliamentary constituency in the country, the statement added.