ENSURING THE POOR ARE NOT LEFT BEHIND

ENSURING THE POOR ARE NOT LEFT BEHIND

KOTA BARU: Malaysia has reaffirmed its commitment to manage and eradicate poverty through the Shared Prosperity Vision 2030, which is also part of the Twelfth Malaysia Plan.

Universiti Malaysia Kelantan Institute for Poverty Research and Management (InsPeK) director Associate Professor Dr W. A. Amir Zal said in line with this vision, Malaysia has put in a great deal of effort to establish a new framework in order to formulate an action plan that is not merely monetary-based.

"Malaysia is also trying to adopt the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) as a primary alternative to eliminating poverty. We cannot negate the strength of the MPI, nor can we disregard its limits. To me, the MPI draws our attention to other dimensions the poor have to tackle in the institutional system. From that stance, we should do something to ensure that they will not be left behind anymore.

"Nevertheless, to ensure that our strategy will be sustainably impactful, we should consider a new approach, namely the mapping of their potential.

Amir, who is also an associate fellow at the Universiti Malaya Ungku Aziz Centre for Development Studies, said the current approach of helping the poor by solving their problems and fulfilling their needs does not provide a sustainable approach to helping the poor, as they will encounter other problems and other needs which need to be addressed in the future.

"Sometimes the people are confused between a need and a want. The impact of this approach is temporary and will certainly not benefit the poor and stakeholders in strategising a workable plan to get the poor out of poverty.

"Conversely, this new approach which is based on the community capital framework will tap into their potential in a systematic sense. This framework encourages us to observe their potential from the aspects of human, social, economic, cultural, physical, environmental, and spiritual capitals. We believe each person has potential, that makes it impossible for them to be excluded from the system."

Amir said the poor, like others, have the capacity of knowledge and skills, strong will to live, good connection with others, their assets, daily routines, access to the physical part, environment modification and their belief. "By knowing this potential, we can work together with them and other stakeholders to build a new life and create a favorable environment for them.

They can also work with others to increase their capacity to move forward based on their potential, therefore not fixating on the problem nor the need," he added.

Amir said from the aspect of implementation, it was more beneficial and sustainable to devise a better strategy and develop an action plan to eradicate poverty that was not grounded on a blanket approach.

"There is no doubt that this approach will create a sustainable impact. As a result, the poor will not be left behind and can proudly partake in the mainstream system."

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