PETALING JAYA: Malaysia’s poverty rate spiked to 8.4% in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to economic affairs minister Mustapa Mohamed.
In 2019, the poverty rate stood at 5.6%.
Mustapa said the pandemic had caused disruptions to people’s income, leading to many more households being exposed to poverty, especially for those in the B40 and most vulnerable categories.
However, Malaysia had been successful overall in managing poverty and improving the quality of life, he said in his closing remarks at the Malaysia Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) webinar today.
Based on the poverty line income methodology of 2019 (PGK 2019), the poverty rate dropped to 5.6% in 2019 from 7.6% in 2016.
Mustapa said that despite the lower incidences of poverty across all ethnic groups, it remains a persistent issue, aside from instances of inequality and multidimensional poverty involving non-income aspects such as access to healthcare, education and basic amenities.
He said issues such as malnutrition, the increasing burden of healthcare, the digital divide, inequality, environmental concerns and inclusive development were the biggest challenges in achieving the government’s agenda of eradicating poverty by 2030.
He said he would be setting up and chairing the Poverty Circle consisting of representatives from the government, private sector, civil society and academics to formulate strategies on the best way forward to manage poverty during the pandemic.
The Poverty Circle will be coordinated by the Economic Planning Unit in the Prime Minister’s Department for Economic Affairs.
Mustapa also said Malaysia had sent its Voluntary National Review 2021 (VNR 2021) to the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development at the United Nations, to be held in July.
The VNR 2021 highlights Malaysia’s progress in achieving all 17 of the sustainable development goals for the period 2016 to 2019/2020.
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