I think the government has to shift more focus to developing the rural areas. The common question nowadays is, are the Malays affordable enough to buy at least a retail outlet in mega projects namely the NCER, ECER, Iskandar Johor and Sabah and Sarawak Development Corridors?
Who will benefit most from it? The Malays? The kampung folks?
Our affirmative action plan looks very promising on the surface but the ugly facts are well-hidden beneath it.
While Malay poverty share falls, other Bumiputras are still lagging, according to a report by the United Nations 2010 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) released Thursday. Despite making up only 11 per cent of the population, non-Malay Bumiputeras now make up about half of all underprivileged households.
Non-Malay Bumiputeras - most of whom are from Sabah and Sarawak, and who are Barisan Nasional's (BN) vote bank - making up about 50 per cent of all poor households in the country as compared with about 20 per cent in 1989.
The proportion of poor made up by Malay households, meanwhile, dropped from over 60 per cent in 1989 to about 40 per cent in 2009.
The share of Chinese and Indian households remained relatively stable during the same period, at less than 10 per cent.
The report also found that Sabah had the highest poverty rate in the country at 19.7 per cent.The UN (MDG) comprises eight global, time-bound development goals, with targets to be achieved by 2015.
Kamal Malhotra, the United Nations Resident Co-ordinator for Malaysia, said in the report that while the country has achieved the aggregate MDG objective of halving poverty — which fell from 17 per cent in 1990 to eight per cent in 2000, and below four per cent in 2009 — rural Sabah was not on track to achieve the poverty MDG by 2015.
The MDG report found that 3.5 per cent of households are vulnerable, meaning that they have incomes 25 per cent or less above the poverty line.
Non-Malay Bumiputera were found to be the most vulnerable, followed by Chinese, Malay, Indian and other races.