KOTA KINABALU: The poverty rate in Sabah has continued to decline from 19.7 per cent in 2009 to 8.1 per cent last year.
Disclosing this yesterday, the director-general of the Economic Planning Unit (EPU) in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Dr Rahamat Bivi Yusoff said this showed the success of the state government under the leadership of Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Haji Aman in addressing poverty.
She said the poverty rate in the rural areas of Sabah also recorded a decline – from 32.8 per cent in 2009 to 12.9 per cent – and in the urban areas, there was also a drop from 9.8 per cent to 5.3 per cent.
Dr Rahamat Bivi added that a survey also showed that the household income throughout Sabah for 2012 rose to RM4,013 from RM3,102 in 2009.
“It represents a 29.4 per cent improvement with the averafe growth rate of 8.6 per cent per annum. This is a good achievement for Sabah because in just four years the household income has increased by a huge amount,” he told a press conference here yesterday on the Findings from the Household Income Survey (HIS) 2012 for Sabah.
Also present was State Secretary Tan Sri Sukarti Wakiman.
Dr Rahamat Bivi also said the average monthly income in the urban areas had also shot up by 22.7 per cent from RM3,803 in 2009 to RN4,668 in 2012 and in the rural areas, by 33.8 per cent from RM2,177 to RM2,913.
She said the HIS 2012 also indicated that the income distribution in Sabah has improved.
According to her, the Gini coefficient reduced from 0.453 in 2009 to 0.428 last year and that this reflected a more equitable distribution of income among households as a result of the implementaiton of a more comprehensive initiatives and inclusive socio-economic development programmes in Sabah.
“In particular, the implementation of specific programmes to assist the poor and low-income group to generate higher income,” he said, adding that among such programmes were 1AZAM, Agropolitan and Minis Estet Sejahtera Development as well as the livestock and commercial agricultural and microcredit programmes.
Meanwhile Dr Rahamat Bivi said the federal government has allocated RM24.8 billion under the 10th Malaysia Plan (Rolling Plan 1, II and III) for the implementation of development programmes which included the construction of basic rural infrastructure as well as education and housing assistance programmes under the National Key Results Areas (NKRA) in Sabah.
As a specific measure to help the poor and low-income earners, he said a total of RM293.5 lillion was allocated to implement 1AZAM under the NKRA Low Income Households.
As of December 2012, Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM) has also provided RM920.6 million to help the poor to conduct micro-businesses.
“More importantly, the continuous effort by the government to improve basic infrastructures including road and portable water has helped to improve the quality of life in Sabah.
“The improved connectivity also created a conducive environment for Sabahans to undertake their economic activities, hence improving income and reducing poverty,” she said.