KUALA LUMPUR: The number of households in the hardcore poor category has decreased from 124,744 to 118,217 from Dec 15, 2022 until May 15 this year, the Dewan Rakyat was told today.

Deputy Minister of Economy Datuk Hanifah Hajar Taib said according to the eKasih dynamic data managed by the Implementation Coordination Unit under the Prime Minister’s Department, the number of registered household heads in the poor category also dropped from 304,911 to 299,080 during the same period.

She also said that based on the Household Income, Expenditure and Basic Amenities Survey Report 2019, the incidence of absolute poverty was 5.6 per cent, while hardcore poverty was 0.4 per cent.

“DOSM (Department of Statistics Malaysia) is finalising the findings of the 2022 survey, which is expected to be published in the third quarter of 2023,” she said during the question and answer session at the Dewan Rakyat sitting today.

She said this in reply to a question from Mohd Syahir Che Sulaiman (PN-Bachok) about the progress the government has made in reducing the poverty rate and eliminating hardcore poverty over the last six months.

Hanifah Hajar said the country’s labour market has also improved since the country entered the transition to endemic phase, as the unemployment rate for March 2023 dropped to 3.5 per cent compared to 5.3 per cent in May 2020.

Strong economic growth in 2022 has helped support recovery in the labour market, she added.

She further said the government is implementing various intervention measures to address poverty, some of which had been announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim during the tabling of Budget 2023.

Among the measures announced are the Rahmah Cash Aid to about nine million recipients with an allocation of nearly RM8 billion, various subsidies to padi farmers and smallholders and the Unity Package prepaid mobile Internet plan.

Hanifah Hajar said as of May 22, a total of 82,892 participants had registered for the People’s Income Initiative (IPR), which focused on empowering the B40 group, and RM750 million had been allocated for that purpose this year. - Bernama