KOTA BARU, Sept 12 — The government will ensure that information pertaining to the distribution of aid to the poor will be standardised in a more organised manner to prevent any duplication of assistance.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said that five main groups, namely, the federal and state governments, state Islamic religious councils, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and companies, must play a role in ensuring the coordination of information on aid recipients.
He said the standardisation of information is important as all five groups that channel assistance play a huge role in helping the underprivileged.
“For example, the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council which collects zakat or tithes of more than RM900 million a year and half of the collection is to be used to help asnaf (those eligible to receive zakat) directly.
“In fact, standardised information is also necessary to facilitate NGOs and companies that have several programmes to eradicate poverty to selected asnaf to ensure that they will not be left out,” he said in a press conference after officiating the Seminar on Findings of the East Coast Region’s Poverty Line Survey here today.
The seminar, organised by the Economic Planning Unit of the Prime Minister’s Department, in collaboration with Empower East Coast Economic Region (ECER) and the Statistics Department, involved 100 participants from Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and Johor, consisting of representatives of government agencies, NGOs and institutions of higher learning (IPT).
Mustapa also admitted that prior to this there was an inconsistency in the information about the recipients which was based on the information and complaints received.
He said that thus far the government depends on the list of recipients of cost of living aid (BSH) of the Inland Revenue Board (IRB).
The issue of poverty is something that will be addressed the best possible way in the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP), with various parties having given their views on it, he said.
“All races are experiencing incidents of poverty, including urban and rural poverty. In the context of Kelantan, it has recorded the second highest level of poverty with about 40,000 households belonging to the group and it certainly requires more attention.
“Therefore, in the 12MP we need to devise more effective methods to address these poverty issues, including urban poverty which also involves several states in the East Coast, Sabah and Sarawak as well as several community groups, including the Orang Asli,” he said. — Bernama