Urban poverty in state due to rural urban migration, says Sarawak minister

State Welfare, Community Well-being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said low income due to lack of skills and education as well as living in areas with poor basic amenities have made it difficult for the group to escape poverty. ― Picture by Sulok Tawie
State Welfare, Community Well-being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said low income due to lack of skills and education as well as living in areas with poor basic amenities have made it difficult for the group to escape poverty. ― Picture by Sulok Tawie

KUCHING, June 24 — The increased migration of rural people who lack personal development skills to urban areas is one of the factors which has contributed to the existence of urban poor population in Sarawak.

State Welfare, Community Well-being, Women, Family and Childhood Development Minister Datuk Seri Fatimah Abdullah said the increase in the migration rate has also led to several other issues including squatter settlements, unemployment and social problems.

“Low income due to lack of skills and education as well as living in areas with poor basic amenities have made it difficult for the group to escape poverty,” she told a press conference after chairing the first meeting of a committee set up to address the urban poverty issue in Sarawak, here today.

Fatimah said the committee is still adopting eight proposals submitted based on the 2013 Sarawak Urban Poverty Study which includes the setting up of a database of urban poor group, providing housing assistance schemes as well as skills upgrading.

“(Through the proposals) the Land and Survey Departmet for example can help provide land lots for those living in squatter areas to build better houses in more suitable areas,”she said.

Fatimah said through the approach adopted by the Land and Survey Department, the state government has reduced the number of squatters to 4,285 this year, after relocating 2,307 from 9,760 people in 2010.

However, she said an integrated and updated database of urban poor group is needed as some of the data was too localised and not comprehensive.

The data can serve as a source of reference for formulating policies that can help the state government in terms of urban planning, as well as providing education and job opportunities, she added. — Bernama

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