Thursday, 28 April 2011

A Reality Check

According to the UN 2010 MDG report, the percentage of poor Malays that live under the poverty line has reduced from 60% in 1989 to 40% in 2009.

In simple mathematics, a 1% reduction per year.

If that so, we could expect the figure to come down to 30% in 2019.

Is this an achievement? Let me leave you with a related article from The Malaysian Insider.


Malay poverty share falls, other Bumis still lagging
By Lee Wei Lian
April 28, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, April 28 — Despite making up only 11 per cent of the population, non-Malay Bumiputeras now make up about half of all underprivileged households, according to the UN 2010 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) report.


The report released today showed non-Malay Bumiputeras - most of whom are from Sabah and Sarawak, and who are Barisan Nasional's (BN) vote bank - making up about 50 per cent of all poor households in the country as compared with about 20 per cent in 1989.

The proportion of poor made up by Malay households, meanwhile, dropped from over 60 per cent in 1989 to about 40 per cent in 2009.

The share of Chinese and Indian households remained relatively stable during the same period, at less than 10 per cent.

The report also found that Sabah had the highest poverty rate in the country at 19.7 per cent.
The report noted, however, that from 1989 to 2009, the incidence of poverty among all ethnic groups fell by at least half.


Approximate incidences of poverty among Malay households shrank from about 17 per cent to three per cent, while for the Chinese it dropped from about three to one per cent. For Indians it was reduced from about six to three per cent and for non-Malay Bumiputeras, it fell from about 33 to 16 per cent.

The report attributed the disparity between the non-Malay Bumiputeras and the rest of the ethnic groups to the local geographical features of the East Malaysian states.

“As [non-Malay] Bumiputera live predominantly in East Malaysia where the geographical terrain poses severe limitations to building transport infrastructure and basic amenities, the relative disadvantage of this group stands out,” said the report.

The UN (MDG) comprises eight global, time-bound development goals, with targets to be achieved by 2015.

Kamal Malhotra, the United Nations Resident Co-ordinator for Malaysia, said in the report that while the country has achieved the aggregate MDG objective of halving poverty — which fell from 17 per cent in 1990 to eight per cent in 2000, and below four per cent in 2009 — rural Sabah was not on track to achieve the poverty MDG by 2015.

The MDG report found that 3.5 per cent of households are vulnerable, meaning that they have incomes 25 per cent or less above the poverty line.

Non-Malay Bumiputera were found to be the most vulnerable, followed by Chinese, Malay, Indian and other races.

The UN report also said the 2008-2009 global economic crisis had caused the national poverty rate to rise to 3.8 per cent of citizen households in 2009, representing an estimated 228,000 households and an increase from 210,000 households in 2007.

The national poverty line used in the report is a variable poverty line developed by the Malaysian government and defined by household size, composition and location.
In 2009, the mean national poverty line translated to RM6.50 per capita a day.
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