[KEADILAN] target: Minimum RM4,000 household income
Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) is targeting a minimum household income of RM4,000 a month within five years of a Pakatan Rakyat federal administration, its de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim said.
“This policy proposal will be raised at the Pakatan Rakyat leadership council for further deliberation,” he told a press conference at the party headquarters in Petaling Jaya today.
At present, 2.4 million families, or 40 percent of the households, earn less than RM2,300 a month. These people, Anwar said, formed the poorest section of society, of whom 75 percent are Malay or bumiputera families.
The figure of RM4,000 a family a month was worked out to provide minimum comfort for a household and was agreed to based on a survey conducted on rents and the cost of living in a city.
Anwar (right) said policies to meet this target, which include greater access to credit, would be paid for through savings made when government leakages were plugged, corruption eradicated and efficiency increased.
Such improvements in governance would also translate into higher foreign direct investments (FDIs), which would be the backbone of the economy, he said of the proposal to be mooted at the Pakatan meeting in two weeks.
“I don’t want to downplay the importance of FDIs, for Malaysia’s strength depends on FDIs. But what we are saying is that (if governance is improved), there will be no reason for investors to leave Malaysia,” he said.
8.9 percent still lower than neighbours
The Permatang Pauh MP also noted that the 8.9 percent growth in the last quarter came on the back of a financial crisis that saw the economy shrink by 1.7 percent last year.
“Between the idea of dramatic increases in private investment and the reality that prevails at present falls a shadow,” he said.
Regional players like Singapore, which expect growth for this year to be seven to eight percent more than Malaysia’s target would also outshine the 8.9 percent growth.
“On the other hand, Indonesia is anticipated to register a growth of above six percent for 2010, continuing a 4.6 per cent growth in 2009 when Malaysia was in a recession,” he said.
Malaysia’s wage increase was also lagging far behind Indonesia’s, where the average salary had risen by 10 percent between 2007 and 2009.
In contrast, the average salary in Malaysia increased by only 2.6 percent over the last decade, with 34 percent of the workforce earning less than RM700 per month, Anwar said.
“It has become modus operandi for the federal government to throw a lot of big numbers and hide behind assumptions and premises that are eventually proven wrong.”
Anwar said the PKR policy proposal was likely to benefit the Malays and bumiputera, who made up the poorest section of society, without discriminating against the needy from other races.
“The debate is real income, not a 30 percent equity target squandered by a few. If the policy creates 10 billionaires but you only earn RM800 a month, would you still be proud?” he asked.
Welcome for use of the dinar
On a separate issue, Anwar said that the Pakatan Rakyat leadership is expected to review the proposal to introduce dinar and dirham coins in Kelantan.
“The initial proposal has strong foundation in terms of economic argument because it is based on tangible assets and the true strength of the economy.
“We need to discuss it, but I welcome the initiative,” he said.