PM: Special units to be set up to tackle poverty, income inequality under 12MP

KUALA LUMPUR: The government will set up special units at Federal and district levels to deal with poverty and income inequality, says Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

The Prime Minister said these units would be responsible for coordinating the related data, programmes and initiatives implemented by the government, corporate sector and civil society organisations (CSOs).

“With officers given specific tasks to deal with poverty at the district level, I am confident that hardcore poverty can be eradicated by 2025,” he said on Monday (Sept 27) during his speech tabling the 12th Malaysian Plan (12MP).

Ismail Sabri said the Covid-19 pandemic had increased the poverty rate, affected the income or individuals and households, and placed a lot of pressure on the poor.

He said that to address poverty, Malaysia has had to learn from the successes achieved by other countries.

Ismail Sabri said that more integrated efforts would be made to increase income and address the rising cost of living among the B40 and vulnerable groups.

He said targeted assistance such as cash handouts and social protections will be extended to those who were eligible.

He added that RM1.5bil will be allocated for an urban community economic empowerment programme and a rural wellbeing development scheme to enhance the wellbeing and purchasing power of B40 families.

"The government cannot be alone in this struggle. I call on the corporate sector and individuals to help Malaysian families out of poverty.

"No matter how small the assistance given, including through alternative sources of funding such as zakat and waqf, if mobilised, it will bring great benefits,” he said.

Ismail Sabri also said more children from B40 families will be given priority to enter prestigious schools and to get scholarships.

On the physical wellbeing aspect, Ismail Sabri said access to health services would be widened, citing that the issue of malnutrition among children from B40 families was on the rise.

Ismail Sabri said that to enhance the capability, skills, and job-seeking competitiveness of the M40 group, training and reskilling programmes, as well as entrepreneurial activities, will be enhanced.

“They will also be encouraged to subscribe to health and employment insurance at affordable rates. In addition, we will ensure that M40 children have access to quality education at an affordable cost,” he said.

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