‘Malaysia most successful in helping poor’

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PEKAN — Malaysia is recognised as the most successful nation in helping the poor and low-income groups through various policies carried out by the government.

Caretaker Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the policies were consistently implemented since the administration of second prime minister and his late father Tun Abdul Razak Hussein with the creation of the Federal Land Development Authority (Felda).

He said this was followed by the setting up of agencies such as Felcra, Majlis Amanah Rakyat (Mara), Tekun Nasional (Tekun) and Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM).

These were among the channels for these groups to improve their standard of living.

“As a government, I uphold the principles and philosophy which represented the continuity of my father’s struggles which mooted the New Economic Policy as the prime mover for rural development,” he said.

“In his struggles, among those that drew much attention was how to change and assist the villagers and the poor. This cannot be denied when the position of the poor, particularly those in rural areas, began to change (for the better).”

Najib was officiating at the Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM) Entrepreneurs Assembly at the Pekan parliamentary constituency level yesterday.

He said that as a result of the aid and credit provided by AIM since its formation, a total of 726,891 borrowers had received the benefits involving a total credit of RM19.2 billion.

“The national poverty rate had, in terms of absolute figure, dropped to zero while the relative poverty rate dropped 3.8 per cent in 2009 to 0.4 per cent in 2016,” he said.

“Meanwhile, the rate of monthly household income for the group B40 category had risen from RM1,400 to RM2,848 during the corresponding period.

Najib said there had been many examples of AIM’s success, including a housewife who rose to become a big-time entrepreneur from starting out as a chicken seller.

“She succeeded because of the assistance provided by AIM. This is an example that can be used as an inspiration for ‘Sahabat AIM’ (members of AIM) to succeed and raise their living standards,” he said.

Najib also announced an additional special allocation to AIM amounting to RM100 million this year to raise the limit of financing for its I-Sejahtera loan from RM10,000 to RM15,000.

At the same time, the loan limit for I-Wibawa was also increased from RM5,000 to RM15,000. — Bernama