War on poverty needs multi-disciplinary approach says expert

PETALING JAYA: Any central agency tasked with tackling poverty and income inequality must be made up of a multi-disciplinary and multi-ethnic team, says an expert on poverty issues.

In saying that the idea was a major step forward, research fellow at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia Prof Datuk Dr Denison Jayasooria said the agency must deal with the issue in a “holistic manner”.

“Now, every agency is doing its own thing and focusing on different aspects. If there is no cooperation, there might be duplication of people getting aid and some falling through the cracks,” he said.

In unveiling the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) in Parliament, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government would set up these anti-poverty units at the federal and district levels.

He said these units would be responsible for coordinating data, programmes and initiatives implemented by the government, corporate sector, as well as the civil society organisations.

“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 in tabling the 12MP.

Under the 12MP, to ensure the sustainability of bumiputra equity ownership, the sale of bumiputra shares or companies are to be only offered to other bumiputra consortiums, companies or individuals.

Ismail Sabri said the Covid-19 pandemic had increased the poverty rate, affected the income of individuals and households, especially the poor.

Under the 12MP, the government aims to enhance the service delivery system to improve efficiency and optimise resources.

It also said a special unit staffed by competent personnel will function as the central body to plan, coordinate, implement and monitor measures in poverty alleviation.

To this, Dr Denison said the team must be made up of psychologists, social workers and sociologists.

He said poverty alleviation was not just about giving handouts but assisting the people to stand on their own feet, unless they were severely disadvantaged such as having a disability that did not allow them to work.

The 12MP said there were still issues and challenges that needed to be addressed.

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12th Malaysia Plan , 12MP


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