Sarawak has reduced the rate of absolute poverty among its people, including those who live in the rural areas, said Chief Minister Abang Johari Openg.
Touching on a United Nations report which said the percentage of low-income earners in Sarawak is higher than the national-level figure, he said the methodology to measure the poverty rate should be checked.
He said this was because even at the national level the low poverty line had already decreased.
“GDP is gross total income divided by population. But what we want to know now is real poverty and absolute poverty. As for absolute poverty, we have decreased it,” he said during event in Sarikei tonight.
He explained that absolute poverty means that a person has nothing but the people in rural Sarawak have land, which is an asset.
“They do not have high income because they have yet to monetise their assets. Why can’t they monetise their assets ... because they lack knowledge. That is all,” he said.
That is why the state government is emphasising education of the people as with education they will have the knowledge on how to transform or monetise their assets into production.
It was reported on Wednesday that UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights Issues, Philip Alston, compiled a report which said the percentage of low-income earners in Sarawak is higher than the national-level figure.
At the national level, 8.8 percent of households in Malaysia have a monthly income of less than RM2,000.
“The situation is more dire in certain states,” said the report, which pointed out that in Sarawak, 15.5 percent of households have a total family monthly income of less than RM2,000.