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Election Watch

Call to address widening income gap

Source: The Sun
Date: 29 August 2012

PETALING JAYA (Aug 29, 2012): A Centre for Public Policy Studies (CPPS) has called on the federal government to establish a new ministry or agency to address the widening income gap, and the concerns of the 40% of Malaysian households that earn less than RM3,000 a month.

The centre also highlighted the need for a shift from programmes based on welfare handouts to empowerment programmes to help target groups enhance their standard of living.

In a press release issued detailing the proposals drawn up at a meeting on Aug 16, CPPS chairman Tan Sri Ramon Navaratnam said this ministry or agency should serve as both the policy advocate and coordination centre to effectively address the needs and issues of households in the bottom 40%.

"While much public funds and resources have been allocated towards addressing poverty and low income, there is no integrated and holistic plan mooted to address inequality, and especially urban poverty," said Ramon.

He said, currently there was no ministry or agency with a specific priority of coordinating and addressing the problems of those in the low income group.

"The impression now is that there are many agencies operating independently, and that implementation was weak at the micro level," he said.

He said panelists had recommended a multidimensional approach with an emphasis on quality of life, and a public policy focus of equalising opportunities, rather than outcome.

Panelists included Dr Chua Hong Teck of Pemandu, former University Malaya Centre for Poverty head Prof Sulochana Nair and Datuk Denison Jayasooria from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia.

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