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Gov't urged to consider implementing targeted subsidy scheme for urban poor

Publish date: Fri, 01 Dec 2023, 09:44 AM

KUALA LUMPUR: A senator has suggested that the government introduce a subsidy scheme for poor city folks when implementing the targeted subsidy programme.

Senator Datuk Mohd Hisamudin Yahaya said the government could consider setting certain conditions and standards to be fulfilled by the urban poor to be eligible for the targeted subsidies.

"Among the conditions could be a household income under RM5,000, permanent residents of Federal Territories, loss of jobs and permanent disability due to accidents," he said when debating the 2024 Supply Bill in Dewan Negara today (November 30).

He said the targeted subsidy programme was the best formula for restructuring the economy as subsidy leakages involved benefits worth hundreds of millions of ringgit enjoyed by the rich and foreigners.

Mohd Hisamudin said between last year and October this year, he received complaints and feedback from people in certain B40 areas in Kuala Lumpur who were grappling with the problem of urban poverty, including in Program Perumahan Rakyat (PPR) schemes in Sentul, Bandar Tun Razak, Cheras and Segambut.

"Frankly, I find the lives of the urban poor more challenging than the poor in rural areas. In kampung, we can plant our own crops or catch fish to sustain our lives.

"But for the poor living in cities, having no money to buy necessities means going hungry. I am very concerned about this situation because the cost of living in cities is increasing," he said.

Meanwhile, Senator Mohd Hasbie Muda proposed that the government review the public sector pension scheme as the amount was increasing each year.

He said there were allegations that the current retirement scheme only benefited those who had held Jawatan Utama Sektor Awam (JUSA) posts before as their pension payments were bigger than the salaries of most Malaysians.

"I understand that the government will review the salaries of civil servants and we agree that all public servants should get decent salaries. But we should also study from the angle of our pension," he said.

Senator Datuk Dr Ahmad Azam Hamzah suggested that the government establish one-stop centres for selling goods and products made by Small and Medium Industries (SMI) in every state and turn them into 'must-see' destinations for foreign tourists.

"This is widely done in countries like China, Indonesia and Thailand. I think so far Malaysia has not come up with one-stop centres which are irresistible to tourists. It is time for us to promote local products," he said.

The House will sit again on Monday. - Bernama

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