BN2008 News

Prime Minister Badawi: 'My Goal is to Completely Eradicate Hardcore Poverty From Malaysia'

    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (ots/PRNewswire) -

    - Radical Anti-Poverty Programme Is Key Part Of Prime Minister Badawi's Plans For 'Prosperity For All'

    Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi, campaigning today in Terengganu, in northern Malaysia, spoke about his "ambitious but achievable" programme to eradicate all hardcore poverty from Malaysia.

    Speaking as he campaigned ahead of the March 8th general elections, Mr. Badawi said that tackling poverty and sharing the benefits of wealth creation had been a key priority of his government over the last four years.

    "It is time now to up the pace in our anti-poverty drive, with a renewed mandate, renewed vigour and a tougher goal," he said.

    Since 2004 Mr Badawi's government has succeeded in reducing hardcore poverty from 1.2% to 0.7% of the population.

    "I can confidently pledge that, with a renewed mandate, we will eradicate hardcore poverty from our country completely. That is my goal. It is both ambitious and achievable," he said on the campaign trail.

    "By doing so, Malaysia will be the only country in Asia with no hardcore poverty at any level of our society. That is the scale of the challenge I am setting for Malaysia's next government."

    "When people ask me why it is worth voting in these elections I tell them: with the renewed support of the people, we can deliver even fewer children living in poverty, even more people living in decent homes, having good jobs and enjoying better education opportunities. We are determined to deliver greater security and prosperity for all," said the Prime Minister.

    Mr Badawi's governing coalition has made considerable progress across the board in its anti-poverty programmes. The government have reduced the numbers living in overall poverty, in both rural and urban areas, from 5.7% of the population to less than 3.5%.

    The coalition's manifesto commits the next Badawi-led government to reduce the numbers living in overall poverty in the next three years to 2.8% of the population.

    Over the last 40 years the government's focus on removing the root causes of poverty in Malaysia has seen the proportion of the population living at or below the poverty line fall from close to 50% in the 1970s, to just 3.5% today.

    Malaysia, with 3.5% of the population living below the poverty line is ranked above France (with 6.2%), the Netherlands (10.5%) and the United States (12%).

    Complementing its anti-poverty drive, over the last four years the government has also:

@@start.t1@@      -- Increased the monthly income for agricultural workers -- padi farmers
          have see monthly incomes increase by 27%; rubber smallholders by 34%
      -- Built 178,000 low-cost homes
      -- Opened 14 new hospitals@@end@@

    Prime Minister Badawi is clear that there is more work to be done and with a renewed mandate has pledged further improvements in job creation, affordable housing, public transport, road development , infrastructure upgrading and improved delivery of electricity and water supply.

    During campaigning on Saturday, Prime Minister Badawi visited Terengganu which, as part of the governing coalition's economic development programme has seen significant improvement in the tourism infrastructure. The government has worked hard to make tourism a major industry in Terengganu, increasing the number of tourists to the area from 2 million in 2006 to nearly 2.8 million last year and aiming for a record 3.5 million in 2008. It has done this by staging prestigious events such as the Monsoon Cup sailing regatta which was voted Event of the Year by the World Match Racing Tour and attracts tens of thousands of tourists to the state every year.

    Through these and other initiatives the government is strongly promoting Terengganu as a major tourist destination whose growth will touch every segment of the state's economy from construction and transportation to food, drink and manufacturing. Terengganu's immaculate beaches and natural beauty have made it the newest destination for international travellers that have traditionally holidayed in Phuket, Bali and other idyllic spots in Southeast Asia.

ots Originaltext: BN2008 News
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Chong Sin Woon for BN2008, +6019-382-8461,

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