Absolute poverty rises to 8.4%, social protection to be improved


MALAYSIA remains committed to eradicate poverty through greater collaboration within government agencies and statutory bodies which will aid in unlocking income potential, increase household productivity, and create a more productive workforce.

Absolute poverty increased from 5.6% in 2019 to 8.4% in 2020, while relative poverty rose to 16.9% with a 10.3% decrease in mean monthly household gross income, from RM7,901 in 2019 to RM7,089 in 2020.

Hardcore poverty is also estimated to increase from 0.4% in 2019, involving 27,200 households, to 1.0% involving 78,000 households.

Household income was also greatly impacted. About 20% of M40 households with income between RM4,850 and RM10,959, slid into the B40 category, while 12.8% of T20 households shifted into M40.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said policymakers must recognise the role of social protection in promoting social wellbeing by crafting effective policies that consider the people’s voices.

He stressed that new and innovative social protection solutions are urgently required. It is to strike a balance between the provision of safety nets, promote financial resilience and human capital development.

“More collaborative efforts by the public and private sectors are also vital to form strong synergies between social security organisations, relevant stakeholders, and policy makers.

“Quick responses are required to uplift the community, promote rights, and bridge social protection gaps in the country, especially for informal economy workers, housewives, or unpaid family workers such as caregivers,” he said in his opening address at the International Social Wellbeing Conference 2021 (ISWC 2021) ‘The New Narrative: Turning the Tide on Inequality’ today.

The ISWC 2021 is jointly organised by the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), the Ministry of Finance, the Implementation Coordination Unit under Prime Minister’s Office, and the International Social Security Association.

Ismail said as Keluarga Malaysia, everyone should work together to establish a stronger social support system towards greater resiliency, especially for poor and vulnerable groups.

“The Malaysian solution in this context is the Government’s commitment to strengthen and increase research activities under the Malaysia Social Protection Council (MySPC).

“This council serves as a centralised coordinating body to develop a comprehensive national social security approach, which is based on lifecycle needs, encompasses effective and efficient policies, and is backed by credible, broad-based, inclusive infrastructure and legal framework,” he added.


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