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How Many Of 2 Million Poor Households Are in Sabah?

Kota Kinabalu: “After a rosy announcement of an average Malaysian household income of RM5,900 per month, the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) of the Prime Minister’s Department drops a bombshell that there are 2 million or 28.7% of households earning less than RM3,000 per month. The question that begs an answer is how many of these 2 million households are in Sabah and Sarawak" said Datuk Dr. Jeffrey Kitingan, STAR Sabah Chief, commenting on the announcement by the Minister in the PM’s Department on Tuesday.

Just like the announcement of the 20 sen petrol hike or termed as subsidy reduction, the 2 million poor households announcement is another mis-information or diversion ploy for Budget 2015.

In November 2013, the EPU had announced that Sabah had 39.3% or 42,400 poor households and Sarawak 11.7% or 12,600 poor households out of the national 108,000 total.

Suddenly, in less than a year, there is an almost 20-fold increase in poor households or households earning less than RM3,000 per month.

If the same 51% portion for Sabah and Sarawak is maintained, that translates to a 1.02 million poor households in Sabah and Sarawak.

Therein, unending questions arises.

“What happened to the poverty eradication programs so proudly announced by the federal and Sabah governments with the Chief Minister of Sabah trumpeting that there was a gigantic reduction of poverty levels in Sabah?”

“What policy revisions will be taken to eradicate poverty in Sabah, principally, the cabotage policy and minimum wage of RM800 which is lower than the Peninsula?”

“When will the federal government realize that the continued siphoning of Sabah and Sarawak oil and gas resources with 5% return to them is a cause of poverty and is no longer acceptable?”

“When will the federal government shift its focus to target the poverty, under-development, and unfair policies in Sabah and Sarawak, the nation’s top oil and gas producers, so that the gap with the Peninsula is drastically reduced and within the shortest possible time?”

“Instead of handouts like BR1M, will there be a sustained program to eradicate poverty and increase incomes of the people rather than price hikes like the petrol hike which reduces purchasing power?”

 Will answers be forthcoming from the federal and Sabah governments?

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