KUALA LUMPUR, May 10(Bernama) – Under the Government Transformation Programme, one of the core goals of the National Key Results Area (NKRA) is to improve the living standards of Malaysians in low-income households (LIH).
After a year of implementation, efforts under the NKRA-LIH have proven to be successful.
The execution of NKRA-LIH was placed under the NKRA-LIH Implementation Management Office of the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry.
The main goal of the NKRA-LIH is to eradicate extreme poverty experienced by 44,643 families, in addition to reducing the nation’s poverty rate from 3.6 per cent to 2.8 per cent by December 2010.
To achieve that goal, the ministry has a vetting process to match those registered with e-Kasih against a programme called Akhiri Zaman Miskin (End the Poverty Era – 1AZAM) in stages, nationwide.
According to Ahmad Najib Aris, an officer at the NKRA-LIH Implementation Management Office, latest data shows that the number of heads of households registered in the database is 253,862. The figure comprised 11,382 hardcore poor families, 98,800 poor families and 143,680 ‘easy poor’ families.
“Almost all the heads of households who have been in the extremely poor category have managed to raise their incomes and, subsequently, lifted themselves out of that category,” he explained.
Data from Dec 31 last year revealed that the ministry had succeeded in reducing the number of hardcore poor heads of households under e-Kasih by 99.8 per cent.
In addition, 26 per cent of poor heads of households have also exited the category.
The hardcore poor category consists of people who earn less than RM440 a month in Peninsular Malaysia, RM540 a month in Sabah, or RM520 in Sarawak.
The poor, meanwhile, includes people who earn less than RM750 a month in Peninsular Malaysia, RM960 a month is Sabah or RM830 monthly in Sarawak.
Any family earning less than RM2,000 a month falls in the category of ‘easy poor’.
END THE POVERTY ERA
One of the more important achievements of the NKRA-LIH is the fact that it has equipped the poor with skills and the ability to increase their incomes. This was achieved through the 1AZAM programme, which gives the opportunity to raise incomes through a combination of jobs and entrepreneurship.
Ministry data released on Feb 28 this year shows that 7,401 heads of poor and hardcore poor households are being trained through six programmes.
The six programmes are AZAM Tani, organised by the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry, which deals with 1,074 heads of households; AZAM Niaga and AZAM Khidmat, through Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia, which handles 718 and 100 heads of households, respectively; AZAM Kerja, managed by the Human Resources ministry, handling 684 heads of households; and AZAM Sabah and AZAM Sarawak, dealing with 1,959 and 2,866 heads of households, respectively. The programme is organised by the respective state governments.
Another initiative — and achievement — is a temporary shelter known as Anjung Singgah, meant for homeless people.
The home is a one-stop centre with complete facilities to allow the poor and homeless to forward complaints and receive advice on job opportunities, housing facilities and welfare aid.
The new facility was launched by Women, Family and Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil at Bangunan Ehsan in Kuala Lumpur on March 23. The venue has a counselling room and 76 other rooms.
FINDING MATCHES FOR e-KASIH
At the time this article was written, the ministry had tracked down and registered about a quarter of a million families fitting the description of hardcore poor, poor and easy poor in the e-Kasih database.
E-Kasih is a national database of poor families containing data that is used to plan, implement and monitor poverty aid programmes.
The system, which has been in operation since 2007, stores family data of heads of families with incomes less than RM1,000 in rural areas and RM1,500 in urban areas.
Although some families listed in the database might not necessarily qualify for aid under a poverty eradication scheme, the data is still useful in improving the living standards of the nation’s poor.
The data provided is regarded as accurate since it is distributed to district officers by village heads, who are individuals close to the community.
Every case submitted into the database is verified through a census by the National Statistics Department.
Individuals can also directly register with e-Kasih through the website www.ekasih.gov.my.
NURTURING WOMEN ENTREPRENEURS
The target of creating about 2,000 women entrepreneurs who earn at least RM3,500 for three consecutive months has also been achieved.
Out of the total, 800 women entrepreneurs completed the NKRA-LIH training programme and were able to achieve monthly earnings of higher than RM5,000.
Today, a further 3,387 women entrepreneurs are being trained by the implementation agency, Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia. In addition, 3,433 people are being trained by the Women’s Development Department.
The target of the NKRA-LIH housing sub-field is to increase the number of home ownerships through the People’s Housing Project and Public Housing. These goals were successfully implemented.
To date, 79 per cent of 44,146 low-cost units from the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) have been offered to tenants.
The government has also allocated RM5 million to DBKL to help lower the burden of housing maintenance for more than 11,000 poor and hardcore poor families.
OTHER ACHIEVEMENTS OF NKRA-LIH
Aside from focusing on the poor, the ministry has also allocated RM2.318 million to the Malaysian AIDS Foundation to help neglected groups. This was achieved through the reparation and improvement of services at 15 Anjung Damai homes nationwide.
Anjung Damai provides shelter for marginalised groups, such as women, children and men who have been segregated from their families and the community, such as HIV patients, former jail inmates and drug addicts, juvenile delinquents and former sex workers.
Several of the additional achievements of the NKRA-LIH have, so far, involved educational projects, such as the Nutrition Basket Programme. Jointly organised with the Health Ministry, the programme has benefited over 35,000 children.
The ministry has also repaired and upgraded 490 schools and run-down hostels nationwide, as well as donated school uniforms to over 48,000 children registered under the Kumpulan Wang Amanah Pelajar Miskin (The Poor Students Trust Fund).
Source : Bernama