Tuesday, May 28

Monthly cash assistance mooted to overcome food poverty line, says PM

The Prime Minister says the National Economic Action Council agreed on three proposals to end hardcore poverty in the country.

Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, who chaired the council’s meeting, said it agreed that special monthly cash assistance would be considered to overcome the food poverty line for households unable to participate in income-generating activities due to age and health factors.

All agencies and ministries will review and update the data to confirm the number of recipients who have been given assistance and generate income exceeding the food poverty line in 2023.

“All agencies need to identify households which can participate in the programme in the remaining three months and be absorbed in other suitable programmes,” he said in a statement issued after the meeting on Monday (Nov 6).

He added that the meeting was also informed about the status of implementation and efforts in eliminating hardcore poverty and the challenges faced.

He said the government had implemented several efforts and programs to eradicate hardcore poverty, including monthly cash assistance, home upgrading, providing business capital, skills training and income-generating activities.

Various ministries and agencies have already implemented these efforts to help people to break away from the shackles of hardcore poverty.

Meanwhile, Anwar said the meeting had examined and found that the development expenditure was shrinking yearly. However, the budget showed a significant increase, which could have a long-term impact on the country’s economic growth.

Apart from that, the implementation of development projects, which are problematic and experience delays in implementation, has caused an increase in costs and impacted the economy negatively.

He added that the meeting also found that determining the specifications and cost evaluation of information and communications technology (ICT) projects effectively was difficult to do, and it was also challenging to do a cost review process without a standard cost estimate.

He said the situation could lead to duplication of work and an increase in the cost of ICT projects.

He added that the government will take immediate action to improve the processes in implementing development expenditure (DE) projects.

He said this would include the setting up of an inter-ministerial team, namely the Economy Ministry, Implementation Coordination Unit (ICU), Finance Ministry, Public Works Department, Irrigation and Drainage Department, Malaysian Administrative Modernisation and Management Planning Unit (MAMPU) and related departments to review and prepare a framework on improvement, to be approved by the government.

Anwar said other actions were policy decisions towards decentralisation and empowerment of project implementation and control of allocations to implementing agencies, balanced with strict governance.

He said another action is a policy decision towards centralising ICT project implementation and determination of specifications/costs at MAMPU to control costs and prepare for GovTech.- Bernama

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