Malaysiakini Letter

Fight poverty with employment, not free money

Joshua Woo
Published:

LETTER | The solution to eliminating poverty is to provide jobs, not handing out free money.

Employment with stable incomes makes us earn a living. There's dignity in working hard to provide a decent lifestyle for our family.

Handouts, when received as temporary welfare, help to cushion the unforeseen misfortunes in life. However, when receiving handouts has become a routine, it will be addictive and incentivise an unproductive entitlement mentality.

Poverty is a perennial problem in all societies. Providing aid is a short-term solution. It cannot be sustained for long.

A long-term sustainable solution is to create jobs. Decent employment does not only alleviate people from poverty but also contributes to the overall productivity of a society, in broad economic measures of gross domestic product per capita.

Therefore, it's heartening to read the news that a multinational company, National Instruments (NI), is expanding their operation in Penang with RM170 million.

The company's existing facility, one of NI's largest research centres outside of America, employs 1,000 staff, with 70 percent in skilled and leading roles. The expansion will create another 250 new high-value jobs in the state.

The site of the new facility is about a five-minute drive to the area earmarked for the development of the industrial Island A under the Penang South Islands (PSI) project.

Island A is meant to provide strategic landbank near the airport and within the electric and electronic ecosystem to attract more of such investment to create jobs. Without jobs, there's no sustainable solution to eradicate poverty. Without jobs, people who are not in poverty may fall into poverty.

Providing employment is not just to eliminate poverty but also to prevent poverty. Handouts should be temporary. Creating jobs should be a permanent solution.


The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.

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