KUALA LUMPUR – Measures have been outlined in the 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP) to raise households in the ‘bottom 40 per cent’ or B40 income group to middle-class society.
Last year, there were 2.7 million B40 Malaysian households with a mean monthly household income of RM2,537.
Under the Eleventh Plan, covering the 2016-2020 period, unveiled by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak today, all such households regardless of ethnicity, especially the urban and rural poor as well as low-income households, will be given greater focus.
It reckons that by 2020, the size and composition of the country’s middle-class society will grow to 45 per cent, with the mean income doubling to RM5,270.
“As Malaysia continues to grow, the B40 households should not miss out on the opportunities that come with national prosperity,” according to the five-year development plan which carries the theme ‘Anchoring Growth on People’.
Efforts to raise the income and wealth of B40 households will include enhancing accessibility to higher education and skills training, reducing school dropouts, enhancing integrated entrepreneurship support, developing community and social-based enterprises as well as increasing ownership through investment programmes.
“As the majority of B40 households and the aspirational group in urban areas are employed persons, employers will be given incentives to encourage their employees to pursue higher education and skill levels,” the document says.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) owned by B40 households will be provided with better opportunities to improve their capacity through financing options and business facilitation.
In addition, partnerships with large firms will be initiated to provide more business opportunities for such SMEs.
Self-employed B40 households in rural areas, such as farmers, fishermen and smallholders, will also be encouraged to adopt modern technology to increase productivity and income.
Another strategy outlined in the 11MP to uplift the B40 group is with regard to addressing the increasing cost of living, which will be done, among others, by strengthening the monitoring and enforcement of price control regulations to curtail unreasonable price increases, especially for basic necessities.
“Price monitoring will ensure stable and adequate supply of goods and services and curb excessive market speculation, thus improving market efficiency and purchasing power,” the 11MP document says.
In addition, the ‘1Harga 1Malaysia’ programme will be continued to standardise the prices of subsidised goods between peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak while Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia and Coop1Malaysia stores will be expanded throughout the nation.
Under the Eleventh Plan, the government vows to ensure that affordable homes are available to B40 households, with special interest rate loans with a 10-year moratorium on sale of the property to be provided to enable them to own homes.
Policies regarding housing for the B40 households will also emphasise quality and maintenance.
Existing low-cost flats and houses will be refurbished as part of a holistic campaign to improve living conditions of the community. – BERNAMA