Budget 2010: Curing the Urban Poor malaise. It's a funny name to give a ministry - Ministry of Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing - but Raja Nong Chik, the Minister, won't find it funny as he has suddenly found his tasks multiply.
His main job now, it would seem, is ensure the well-being of Malaysians who live in urban areas and who earn less than RM3000 a month.
Just how many are there in this category?
In 2008, 10.4 million Malaysians who lived in urban areas earned below RM3000 a month. The breakdown was 6.9 million Malays, 3.5 million Chinese, and 1.04 million Indians. And that ain't funny.
In his Budget 2010 speech, Najib said:113. The urbanisation rate is increasing rapidly with 63% of the population residing in urban areas. The poverty rate in urban areas continues to increase due to high cost of living, low income and housing problems. To overcome this, the Government will allocate RM48 million to implement urban poverty eradication programmes, including welfare assistance and house rental payment.In my mind, the PM's attempt to help ease the hardship of the urban poor in his Budget is what makes his first Budget special. If it's a hint of what he has in store for Malaysians under the 10th Malaysia Plan, we can expect him to do more to improve the qualify of urban life. This, hopefully, would also help reduce crime associated with poverty. Of course, politically, the urban folk have been said to be the unhappiest with the government during the last general election.
114. To address urban poverty in a holistic manner, the role of Ministry of Federal Territories will be strengthened and expanded to include urban poverty eradication nationwide, including those with monthly income below RM3,000. For this, I propose that Ministry of Federal Territories shall now be known as Ministry of Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing. Among the main responsibilities of this Ministry include preparing a comprehensive action plan and implementing suitable programmes to address urban poverty.
Najib's full speech on the budget, h e r e.