Anwar: Too early for poverty RCI, will brief MPs on findings

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim speaks during a dialogue session at the 2019 Jakim Halfest in Seri Kembangan  September 8, 2019. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim speaks during a dialogue session at the 2019 Jakim Halfest in Seri Kembangan September 8, 2019. ― Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 8 — It is too early to form a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) on poverty, but federal lawmakers will be briefed about the recent findings by an independent expert under the United Nations on Malaysia's poverty levels, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said today.

Anwar, who chairs the parliamentary caucus for reform and governance, said this was to enable economic experts and the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) to weigh in on the matter.

“Now we have two weeks ago brought to the parliamentary caucus for reform and governance, and we have decided that we will convey this study and its comments to all MPs.

“At this stage, our decision is only as such. Too early. To give space to the EPU and economic experts including Jomo Sundaram, Universiti Malaya, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia economic experts to give input so that all MPs get the information,” the Port Dickson MP told reporters when door stopped after a forum titled “Pemberdayaan Ekonomi Umat” (Empowerment of the people's economy).

The forum was part of the Halal Fiesta Malaysia, which was hosted by the Prime Minister's Department at the Mines International Exhibition and Convention Centre.

The event touted as Malaysia's largest halal expo was jointly organised by the Department of Islamic Development Malaysia (Jakim) and the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council (Maiwp).

Earlier in the forum, Anwar had again highlighted UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights Philip Alston's report late last month, where the latter had said Malaysia's actual poverty rates were higher than indicated by the official figures.

Alston had urged the Malaysian government to review how it measures poverty levels.

Anwar today reiterated that the official figures of 0.4 per cent households nationwide being considered poor did not reflect the actual reality.

The Economic Affairs Ministry had said 24,700 households or 0.4 per cent of households were as of 2016 poor, based on their monthly income falling below the national poverty line of RM980.

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