10.3 Federal Government Poverty Eradication and Social Development Programs and Schemes
· Overview by HRP, Malaysia: The Malaysian Government has actively pursued Poverty Eradication as one of its core strategies from the inception of the nation, and accelerated the notion with the introduction of the New Economic Policy (NEP). The stated objectives of the NEP were:
1. To reduce absolute poverty irrespective of race through raising income levels and increasing employment opportunities for all Malaysians; and
2. To restructure society to correct economic imbalances so as to reduce and eventually eliminate the identification of race with economic function.
Both of the objectives above have both been met, however, the NEP which begun in 1971 as an affirmative action program, soon degenerated into an exclusive race based system where all the resources of the country were garnered and channelled by the UMNO political party to the leaders and members of the party trickling down to their Malay constituency. The NEP also produced a sea change in the social attributes of the majority Malay community and it has shut out the Indian community completely from the process of development, in spite of the stated objective of poverty eradication.