SIBU: The federal government has to look beyond household income in order to tackle issues of poverty among Malaysians, said Sarawak Public Health and Housing Assistant Minister Dr Annuar Rapaee (pix).

He said different areas in the country had different poverty lines and looking at the matter from the household income perspective could not tackle the issue effectively within the 12th Malaysia Plan 2021-2025.

“To tackle poverty comprehensively the government should look at it from the multidimensional poverty index,” he said, referring to the 2020 Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) data and publication “Charting pathways out of multidimensional poverty: Achieving the SDGs”, released on July 16, 2020 by the Human Development Office of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

He said the MPI looked beyond income to understand how people experience poverty in multiple and simultaneous ways and identified how people were being left behind across three key dimensions: health, education and standard of living, comprising 10 indicators.

People who experience deprivation in at least one third of these weighted indicators such as nutrition, child mortality, drinking water, school attendance, sanitation and housing fall into the category of multidimensionally poor.

Annuar told reporters via Zoom application today that looking at the issue from the wrong perspective would lead to wrong solution and would end up giving monetary assistance without solving the poverty issue.

While lauding the aim to upgrade health clinics throughout the country, he hoped the federal government could set a minimum form of services at health clinics in Sarawak especially in the rural areas.

“The minimum form of services should include more doctors, laboratory and x-ray service so that the people could enjoy better health care services,“ he stressed. — Bernama