Anwar on Unicef report: Govt must do more to ease poverty and unemployment

PORT DICKSON: A Unicef report that unemployment among low-income urban families in Kuala Lumpur has doubled during the conditional movement control order is worrying, says Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (pic).

“The report shows the glaring weakness of our present system," the PKR president said at a Covid-19 antigen rapid test kit programme organised by his service centre here on Tuesday (Feb 9). “The leadership, including all political parties as well as non-governmental organisations, should look into this."

Unicef's Families on the Edge: Part 3 report said a survey found that unemployment among heads of households had doubled to 15% in three months, with one in three adults in participating households found to be unemployed.

The survey, conducted from September to December, involved 500 families with children living in Kuala Lumpur’s low-cost flats.

Income levels among households headed by women and persons with disabilities were now 24% and 36% lower respectively than at the end of 2019, the report added.

In a statement on Monday (Feb 8), Unicef said its report also found that many households with earnings just above the official poverty line were experiencing difficulties in meeting basic needs.

Anwar, who is also Port Dickson MP, said the Government should do more to address the issues of poverty and unemployment.

He said it also needed to deal with leakages and corrupt practices in managing the economy as the downturn has been alarming.

“They (the Government) seem to be in a state of denial and say the economy is okay, we have good reserves, when everyone knows the economic downturn is... the worst in Asean, ” he added.

The Government has rolled out several stimulus packages to address economic fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic, including the Malaysian Economic and Rakyat Protection Package (Permai), the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package (Prihatin), and the National Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana).

As of Jan 22, Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz said, the Government had approved a total of RM12.72bil for the Wage Subsidy Programme, involving 322,177 employers and 2.64mil employees.

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