ACKNOWLEDGING that the recent United Nations report on the undercounted state of poverty in the country, PKR president Anwar Ibrahim has urged the government, especially the Economic Planning Unit, to look into failed and obsolete economic policies.
The Port Dickson MP said he was not shocked by the report’s findings, but added that it would have come as a surprise to those who are disconnected from the reality on the ground.
“To address this issue, I strongly urge the government, particularly the Economic Planning Unit and the economic affairs minister to recognise one of the greatest disasters, which is (the) failure of policies,” he said, adding that the failure of such policies could be due to a misdiagnosis of the problem at hand.
He said the New Economic Policy was flawed as it has not been able to resolve the issue of poverty.
Anwar said the state of poverty among the Malays has remained at almost the same level as it was since the time the policy was implemented in 1971.
He added that the level of poverty among the Indian community in some rubber estates has been catastrophic. This, he said, has also been the case for other communities in the rural areas of Sabah and Sarawak, as well as in urban areas.
On that note, he said obsolete economic policies based on race should be reviewed or done away with.
“We need to move on to a new economic agenda based on needs and the need for the country to grow,” he said at his keynote address at a Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KLSICCI) event today.
Anwar also called for programmes and policies to be clearly spelt out by the government to address socio-economic issues.
He reminded that the former government was voted out because of its “subtle racist policy” and for condoning “religious bigotry”, which he said is evident through the PAS-Umno union.
“We came out to reject racist policies,” the prime minister in waiting said, referring to Pakatan Harapan’s victory.
More than six decades since Malaysia’s independence, Anwar said, it is time for the government to embark on more assertive and coherent policies, so that the future generation can be treated as equals.
He added that the government should work on propelling the economy and attracting investments, including adopting the latest technologies such as Industry 4.0, the digital economy, Artificial Intelligence, and the Internet of Things.
Malaysians should not be distracted by minor issues, Anwar said, adding that racial and religious issues need to be dealt with in a mature way.
UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights Prof Philip Alston recently said that local and foreign scholars who have studied the country’s poor believe that a realistic poverty rate for Malaysia is between 16% and 20%.
“The government’s claim that the poverty rate is 0.4% bears no relationship to the reality on the ground,” he told reporters at a forum on the UN’s findings on Malaysia’s poverty level on August 23. – https://www.themalaysianinsight.com
Anwar wants Azmin, EPU to relook ‘failed’ economic policies
Spurred by the recent UN report on Malaysian poverty, PKR president Anwar Ibrahim wants the government to relook past economic policies which he said have failed.
“To address the issue, I strongly urge the government, particularly the Economic Planning Unit and the Economic Affairs Minister (Azmin Ali) to recognise one of the greatest disasters and that is the failure of policies.
“When you get the diagnosis wrong, you have a bad injury in the left leg but you get the right leg amputated (instead),” Anwar said tonight.
He was speaking at a dinner hosted by the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Indian Chamber of Commerce & Industry in Kuala Lumpur.
Last month, UN special rapporteur Philip Alston said Malaysia’s poverty line of RM980 per household, which translates to a poverty rate of 0.4 percent, was unrealistically low and it should be closer to 15 percent.
Azmin, who is Anwar’s estranged deputy in PKR, had refuted Alston’s report and defended the government’s statistics.
However, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has conceded that there was a need to review the poverty line.
Anwar said one of the policies that was fatally flawed was the NEP.
“After 40 years, the NEP has not been able to address poverty even among the Malays which somewhat remains at par with 1971 levels,” he said.
Anwar also reiterated his past remarks that the government should move away from racially-based policies to ones based on needs instead.
He added the government must also grow the economy and attract investors with an Industrial Revolution 4.0-based digital economy.
Azmin had previously said that Putrajaya was committed to shifting towards needs-based policies in line with the government’s “shared prosperity” policy. – MKINI
THE MALAYSIAN INSIGHT / MKINI