MIRI: A total of 23,918 Sarawakians categorised as poor have been taken out of the poverty index as a result of the various development programmes carried out by the Welfare Department.
This was disclosed by the Minister of Welfare, Women and Family Development, Datuk Fatimah Abdullah in her address at the Bouquet of Love Programme at the Civic Centre here yesterday.
According to Fatimah, one of the programmes was 1Azam that comprises four different programmes to help the poor become financially independent.
“The federal government through my ministry has been entrusted to implement and monitor the 1Azam programme with the objective to help the poor improve their income,” she said.
She added that through the 1Azam programmes alone, a total of 1,140 people had been taken out of the poverty index last year. The programmes involved are AZAM Niaga (business), AZAM Khidmat (services), AZAM Kerja (work) and AZAM Tani (agriculture).
“At the moment, there are 20,392 people listed in the hard core poor category, 26,432 in the poor category and 15,425 in the poverty vulnerable category,” she disclosed.
Fatimah said the government through the Welfare Department is working hard to ensure that the needy do not rely fully on government assistance and make an effort to improve their living standard.
“We call it productive welfare where we provide those who receive monthly assistance from the department with Launching Grants to help them start a business to generate income for their family and rise above the poverty index,” she said.
Last year, she said, the state Welfare Department allocated RM136 million for 51,157 recipients of welfare monthly assistance.
“There are many types of assistances provided by the department but you need to register with our E-Kasih programme in order to have access to these assistances.
“In view of this, we would like to urge community leaders and non-government associations to help us identify those who are eligible for these assistances because some are still not aware of our services,” she said.
Some 300 Chinese recipients of Miri Welfare Department’s monthly assistance received Chinese New Year angpow and hampers at yesterday Bouquet of Love programme.
Also present to witness the presentation were Assistant Minister of Communications Datuk Lee Kim Shin, Assistant Minister of Early Childhood Education and Family Development Rosey Yunus, Political Secretary to the Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water Datuk Sebastian Ting, Director of Sarawak Welfare Department Noriah Ahmad and Dato Sri Temenggong Lee Sie Tong.