Amanah Saham shares to help recipients ease financial burden

Sunday, August 30, 2009

PETALING JAYA: The hardcore poor in urban areas will likely get RM10,000 each in the form of Amanah Saham shares to supplement their income.

Federal Territory Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin said 10,000 people were expected to benefit from the scheme.

“This could ease the financial burden of those living in urban areas, where the cost of living is high,” he said when contacted yesterday.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced on Friday that the Government would allocate RM100mil worth of Amanah Saham shares to the urban poor.

Raja Nong Chik said restrictions on withdrawal would be imposed on the principal investment provided for the hardcore poor.

“It would defeat the purpose if the recipients are allowed to withdraw the capital immediately.

“The recipients will only be allowed to withdraw the dividend earned, which will supplement their income on a long-term basis,” he said.

Raja Nong Chik also said that the Implementation Coordination Unit (ICU) in the Prime Minister’s Department was in the process of reviewing the criteria for hardcore poverty in urban areas.

“Under the current criteria, those earning less than RM700 a month are regarded as hardcore poor. There is a need to review the figure in view of the high cost of living in urban enclaves,” he said.

Raja Nong Chik said more people would be included in the hardcore poor category when the term was redefined.

The Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation said urban crime rate could be reduced by eradicating urban poverty, said its vice-president Tan Sri Lee Lam Thye.

He said the urban poor had been neglected to some degree, compared to those in the villages.

“When the Government talks of poverty eradication, its focus is always on the rural poor. But the poor also exist in urban areas, where the cost of living is higher.

“Crime is more prevalent in urban areas, especially in urban slums. Maybe out of desperation, some people are driven to crime,” he said when contacted.

Lee said the Government should take other concrete measures to increase employment opportunities.

Fomca secretary-general Muhammad Sha’ani Abdullah described the move as a short-term measure, saying long-term measures should be put in place.He said the dividends would be small and would not have much impact on the lives of the hardcore poor.

“The Government should adopt measures such as cutting down rental and public transport fares, and subsidising school bus rates,” he said, adding that both the poor and middle income earners were bearing the brunt. - The Star


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