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Uneven progress for anti-poverty push
Source: www.futuregov.asia
Source Date: Monday, August 16, 2010
Focus: Knowledge Management in Government
Country: Malaysia
Created: Aug 16, 2010

In an interview with FutureGov, Malaysia’s Prime Minister’s Department has said that geographical and logistical constraints are hampering the government’s anti-poverty campaign in the east of the country, and its mission to completely eradicate hardcore poverty by December 2010 may not be achievable.

“Our poverty programme is going well. We are well on the way to achieve our target in West Malaysia. Our main worry now is East Malaysia, particularly Sabah and Sarawak,” said Rosni Abdul Malek, IT Director, Implementation Coordination unit, PM Department. The tough terrain and lack of reliable transport routes has made getting supplies and people to remote areas difficult, she added.

Although exact figures cannot be released, at last count in May 2010 around 14,000 families from an initial target figure of 51,000 have been relieved from hardcore poverty in the three years since the project launched. Hardcore poverty in Malaysia is defined by an annual income of RM440 (US$136).

Malek noted: “We are of the opinion that even if we do not achieve our zero per cent hardcore poverty by December 2010, we will have addressed all those listed in eKasih and have given them some form of aid. Following that, they will have a clear timeline of when they will be out of poverty.”

Malaysia’s poverty eradication programme relies on a national poverty data bank known as eKasih that pools information from national, state and district government sources as well as non-government organisations and the underprivileged themselves. This allows for census and mapping efforts to monitor and report the project’s performance.

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