PETALING JAYA: The National Patriots Association (Patriot) today hit out at Economic Affairs Minister Azmin Ali for his quick denial of a United Nations expert’s claim that Malaysia has understated the extent of its poverty.
Instead of dismissing it as “baseless”, Patriot said Azmin should have asked his officers to reassess the statistics and the basis of the poverty line calculation.
On Friday, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights Philip Alston disputed Malaysia’s assertion that it has nearly eliminated poverty, saying that official figures were inaccurate and did not reflect realities on the ground.
Following an 11-day visit to Malaysia, Alston noted, among others, the dire need for the country to re-evaluate its national poverty line of RM980 per month (or RM 8 per day) for a family of four.
He also called on the authorities to devise a poverty-alleviating framework that took into account the needs of marginalised communities such as migrant workers, refugees, stateless people and the disabled.
In a statement today, Patriot president Arshad Raji said the denial syndrome of government officials, when suddenly caught with a blunder, must stop.
“Common sense will tell that a family of four will find it impossible to survive with a meager income of RM980 a month in the Klang Valley,” he said.