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Progress in Poverty Eradication: Malaysia

The incidence of poverty declined markedly from about 49 percent in 1970 in peninsular Malaysia to about 13 percent in 1993. For Sabah and Sarawak the incidence is still significant although the incidence has also declined in the two states. The impact of the poverty alleviation programmes reduced poverty amongst the poor who gravitated around the poverty line income and who incidentally formed the majority of the poor. But the problem now is the need to eradicate poverty among the absolute poor who can be lifted out of poverty through direct assistance rather than through poverty and income-enhancing efforts alone.

In terms of absolute number, the total in poverty declined from 1.1 million households in 1970 to about 619,000 households in 1990 despite an increase in the total population and number of households. There are now about 143,000 households which are considered absolute poor needing special programmes. Notwithstanding these achievements, the problem of poverty still remains a Bumiputra problem, a rural phenomenon. The incidence of poverty among the Bumiputras declined from 65 percent in 1970 to 20.8 percent in 1990 compared to the Chinese from 26 percent to 5.7 percent and Indians from 39 percent to 8 percent respectively during the period.


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Further, the incidence of poverty for the rural areas declined from 59 to 19 percent compared with the urban areas from 21 to 7 percent during 1970 to 1990.

 

Source: Poverty Alleviation in Pakistan: Present Scenario and Future Strategy, Mohibul Haq Sahibzada. Republished with permission.