23.08.19 Poorer than we think: Malaysia's poverty levels far higher than reported, U.N. expert says
Malaysia’s claim to having the world’s lowest national poverty rate is inaccurate, as the official figure vastly undercounts poverty, says United Nations human rights expert, Philip Alston. The UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights said Malaysia uses an unduly low poverty line that does not reflect the cost of living and excludes vulnerable populations from its official figures. Alston also said the official numbers relied on outdated measures, with the poverty line remaining at the same level for decades despite increasingly high costs of living. Analyses done by independent groups suggest that Malaysia has "significant poverty" and that its true poverty rate was about 15%, Alston said. Alston said the national poverty line of 980 ringgit ($234.00) per household per month was "ridiculous", as it would mean an urban family of four would have to survive on 8 ringgit, or less than $2, per person per day. Undercounting the poverty rate has led to a lack of effective government policies targeting the problem, with too many underfunded and ineffective programmes in place, Alston said. He urged Malaysia to reassess its methods for measuring poverty and take into account vulnerable groups excluded from the data such as stateless families, migrant workers, and refugees. Credit: THE Star
Poverty deprives people of adequate education, health care and of life's most basic necessities- safe living conditions (including clean air and clean drinking water) and an adequate food supply. The developed (industrialized) countries today account for roughly 20 percent of the world's population but control about 80 percent of the world's wealth.
Poverty and pollution seem to operate in a vicious cycle that, so far, has been hard to break. Even in the developed nations, the gap between the rich and the poor is evident in their respective social and environmental conditions.