B40 may be reclassified into 3 groups for better wealth redistribution

Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail says the three groups are the destitute, the poor, and those able to fulfil their basic needs.

KUALA LUMPUR: Deputy Prime Minister Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the government is looking to redefine poverty, with household income per capita set to be included in the measurement.

Wan Azizah also said Putrajaya was looking to categorise the B40 income group into three segments for different wealth redistribution strategies.

“If we use the entire class of B40 as a whole for our redistribution strategy, it means the same strategy will be used for three major groups within the category — that is for the destitute, the poor, as well as those able to fulfil their basic needs.

“In fact, all these three groups require different redistribution strategies,” she said in her keynote address at think tank IDEAS’ 10th-anniversary dinner here today.

Last year, UN special rapporteur on poverty and human rights Philip Alston disputed Putrajaya’s claim that it had nearly eradicated poverty, saying the “true poverty rate” in the country was about 15%.

Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad consequently said the government would study the reports Alston cited and review its measurement of poverty if necessary.

Wan Azizah also mooted the formation of a charity commission, highlighting how the social finance sector played a key role in reducing the gap between the rich and poor.

She said this was to improve trust among donors and prospective benefactors by ensuring efficiency, transparency and good governance in the sector.

“Among others, this will prevent incidents of recipients claiming monies donated towards their causes not being received.

“This will also allow for a transparent mechanism in determining the deductible amount for administrative purposes.

“More importantly, it will also establish best practices in the social finance sector,” she added.