Earlier today, the reform caucus led by Anwar Ibrahim hosted an economic seminar on poverty in Malaysia. I arrived early and joined a simple lunch with Anwar, Kit Siang, Dato Johari amongst others.
The seminar was attended by a spectrum of political parties with some 30 plus MPs and senators. The seminar is important as there are clearly very different statistics on poverty rate in Malaysia. While the government maintains that poverty is a mere 0.6%, UNICEF estimates the poverty rate at 16%, Professor Ravallion at 20% and Khazanah Research Institute at 22%.
Anwar gave a very good speech, quoting stats and several research papers. His own office also did research on his Port Dickson constituents and they found the poor and powerless families have mostly resigned to their poor economic fate. He also shared his personal experiences in facing issues of poverty. He urged that social economic justice must be vigorously pursued by the government and not ignored. It is the primary duty of every democratic government, to promote and ensure income equality.
Earlier today, I met with representatives from BK2 to discuss a community farming project. Yesterday, I had a long meeting with bankers and asset managers who are worried about the lack of info on budget 2020. And on the weekend, I attended a Buddhist event in Bukit Jalil (yes, parts of Bukit Jalil is also in my area!).