MTEN Approves Measures to Eradicate Hardcore Poverty in Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim announced today that the National Economic Action Council (MTEN) has agreed upon three proposals aimed at ending hardcore poverty in Malaysia. This decision was reached during the MTEN meeting chaired by Anwar.

According to BERNAMA News Agency, one of the key proposals agreed upon by MTEN is to provide special monthly cash assistance. This assistance is targeted at households that are unable to engage in income-generating activities due to factors such as age and health, thus struggling to surpass the food poverty line (PGK).

Anwar stated that all relevant agencies and ministries are tasked with reviewing and updating data to confirm the number of recipients currently receiving assistance and earning income above the food PGK in 2023. He emphasized the importance of identifying households that are capable of participating in the programme over the next three months and integrating them into other suitable programmes.

The meeting also discussed the current status of efforts to eliminate hardcore poverty and the challenges encountered. Anwar noted that the government has already implemented various initiatives, including monthly cash assistance, home upgrading, providing business capital, skills training, and other income-generating activities, through different ministries and agencies.

Furthermore, the Prime Minister highlighted concerns regarding the actual development expenditure, which appears to be decreasing annually despite the budget indicating a significant increase. This trend could potentially have long-term effects on Malaysia’s economic growth.

Issues such as problematic implementation and delays in development projects were also addressed. These problems have led to increased costs and negative impacts on the economy. Anwar pointed out the challenges in specifying and evaluating the costs of information and communications technology (ICT) projects, leading to work duplication and rising costs.

To address these concerns, the government plans to establish an inter-ministerial team. This team will comprise the Ministry of Economy, Implementation Coordination Unit (ICU), Ministry of Finance, Public Works Department, Department of Irrigation and Drainage, Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU), and other relevant departments. Their task will be to review and prepare a framework for improving the processes in the implementation of development expenditure (DE) projects.

Anwar also mentioned policy decisions focusing on decentralization and empowerment of project implementation and control of allocations to implementing agencies, along with strict governance. Another significant step is the centralization of ICT project implementation and determination of specifications/costs at MAMPU to control costs and facilitate the transition towards GovTech.