Malaysian GovernmentMalaysia is currently on the rise as far as its economy. The country is now considered an upper-middle income economy that has become a leading exporter of electronic appliances, electronic parts and components, palm oil and natural gas.

Malaysia has been successful in eradicating most poverty in the country with less than 1 percent of households living in extreme poverty. The states of Penang, Selangor, Malacca and the federal territories showed marked improvements in 2012 with no extreme poverty in these regions.

“This is proof that the Federal Government’s initiatives to eradicate poverty have succeeded and been of benefit to the rakyat regardless of differences in political ideology,” Malaysia’s economic planning minister Tan Sri Nor Mohamed Yakcop said.

The Malaysian government has done an admirable job of exceeding the Millennium Development Goals which were introduced in 1990. Malaysia succeeded in halving the number of people living on less than a dollar a day much before the 2015 expectant date.

“This is a result of rapid economic development and the effectiveness of poverty eradication programs carried out by the government,” Yakcop said.

According to the Malaysian government, fewer than 110,000 people were living in poverty and that the poverty statistics had nearly been halved within the span of three years. According to this information, the overall poverty rate in Malaysia dropped to 1.7 percent in 2012 which is a significant change compared to the 3.8% in 2009.

The fall in poverty rates was felt in both urban and rural areas. In urban areas, the number of impoverished people fell to just 1 percent in 2012 compared to 1.7 percent in 2009. In rural areas, the numbers were staggering. Poverty rates dropped from 8.4 percent in 2009 to 3.4 percent in 2012.

The focus of the Malaysian government has shifted toward the well-being of “the bottom 40” or poorest 40 percent of the population. Between From 2014 the average household of “the bottom 40” grew at 11.9 percent a year compared to 7.9 percent from 2009 for the total population.

Income inequality still remains a major issue in Malaysia compared to other East Asian countries but the disparity is gradually declining. According to its Gini coefficient, a measurement of income inequality where 0 and 1 indicates perfect inequality, Malaysia scored around 0.49, one of the highest in the region.

Though Malaysia still has some significant work to do as long as income equality, state programs have been put in place to alleviate much of the disparity. With the help of its own government, Malaysia stands as a significant example of a success in the region.

Drew Hazzard

Photo: Flickr