Wednesday, 31 March 2010

thestar: Helping the poor by narrowing socio-economic imbalances

Wednesday March 31, 2010

THE New Economic Model (NEM) will narrow the gap between those in the bottom 40% of the socio-economic scale and others within a reasonable time-frame.

It will put in place mechanisms to strengthen the capability of the 40% of households in rural and urban areas that earn less than RM1,500 a month.

The aim is to help the lowest-income group take advantage of the opportunities to secure better jobs, raise productivity, and dabble in entrepreneurial ventures and other economic activities that will boost their income.

The National Advisory Council (NEAC), while cautioning that all Malaysians would feel the impact of the disruption and dislocation during the NEM transformation process, acknowledged that special mechanisms were needed to assist the low-income group that would be the least prepared to manage the changes.

“The Government must be able to convey the ultimate equity of the benefits over time, urge a commitment to the process and create a vision of the long-term common good.

Stressing that no one would be left behind, the council said a coherent and comprehensive need-based social safety net would support vulnerable groups, particularly those with disabilities.

It also proposed the setting up of an economic transformation fund and implementation of an enhanced safety net to “cushion” the impact on various communities during the transition period.

The benefits of a high-income economy would include higher purchasing power and a better quality of life, encompassing among others, quality healthcare and social support.

The public will also be assured of greater access to resources, jobs, contracts and licences, based on merit and effort.


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