A World Bank report published earlier this month should motivate the government to shift gear with regard to addressing issues plaguing the nation, according to PKR president Anwar Ibrahim.
He said the “21st Malaysia Economic Monitor — Making Ends Meet” report revealed that Malaysia is facing a challenging a global economic scenario.
“In order to overcome these challenges, the government must be more focused and decisive in fulfilling the Pakatan Harapan manifesto promises to uplift the poor and marginalised segments of society.
“Many issues raised in the report are addressed by Harapan’s economic policies, which, if pursued vigorously and with determination could begin to alleviate the burdens felt by many Malaysians, particularly those who are most vulnerable in the B40 group,” he added in a statement today.
Anwar pointed out that the scenario is more bleak for the rural poor in Kelantan, Kedah, Terengganu and the rural heartland of Sabah and Sarawak.
“The findings in these reports should increase the sense of urgency that we in the ruling coalition have to resolve cost of living issues, stimulate the economy, create good paying jobs and increase the social safety net for the most marginalised groups from all races.
“Importantly – I urge the government to monitor development projects carefully to ensure funds are being directed towards and ultimately reach their intended recipients,” he added.
Among others, Anwar said, the report noted that three in 10 Malaysians felt insecure about their ability to buy food, housing prices are “severely” and “seriously” unaffordable in various parts of Malaysia and high indebtedness and inadequate savings exacerbated the sense of financial dread felt by many Malaysians.
“These findings, as well as those expressed in the report authored by the UN special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, Philip Alston, echo conversations I have had with Malaysian families in Port Dickson and around the country. The people are struggling.
“I would also highlight the World Bank report’s recommendation that effective communication of the progress the Harapan government has made with the rakyat is essential for us to build trust and ensure policy success,” he added.
Various quarters have criticised the Harapan government of being too absorbed in politicking.
Last month, in a letter penned to the voters on the eve of the Tanjung Piai by-election, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad conceded that Harapan cannot be shifting the blame to BN always in relation to its efforts to develop the nation.
The premier also said the measures put in place by the current government to revive the nation’s economic situation and reduce the income gap would take time to yield results.
Harapan was crushed in the Nov 16 by-election, where its candidate Karmaine Sardini lost the parliamentary seat by 15,000 votes to BN’s Wee Jeck Seng.