Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian government must
continue its forward-thinking approach and create conditions to allow poor people to empower themselves so that they can be
the masters and not victims of their destiny, Amnesty
International Malaysia said.
Its executive director Nora Murat said that poverty
remained one of the key areas that "we as a nation need to
In a statement yesterday to mark Malaysia`s 53rd year of
independence today, she said, "Our country has come a long way
in developing itself as a dignified country with its
multi-cultural society and rapid economic growth."
She said that it was "vital that we do not cease our
development as a forward-thinking, independent and democratic
society" and that Malaysia could also take a leadership role
in tackling poverty by recognising that everyone has
the right to live in dignity, and the right to food, water,
basic health care, education and shelter.
Since the 1970s, the government has successfully reduced
the incidence of poverty to 3.8 per cent in 2009 from 49.3 per
cent in 1970. This is to be further reduced to 2.0 per cent by
Under the focus of the 10th Malaysia Plan tabled by Prime
Minister Najib Razak in June this year, the government aims to
increase the income levels of the bottom 40 per cent of
households in the country or about 2.4 million households
whose average income is estimated at RM1,400 a month (USD