While poverty has gone down across the board in Malaysia, a section of the community remains over-represented in poverty statistics, the United Nations Millenium Development Goals report for Malaysia states.
A total 34 percent of Orang Asli households are poor, data presented in the report launched today shows, while poverty hounds one in five of Sabah bumiputera households.
A total 7.3 percent of Sarawak bumiputera are poor, the report said.
This is high compared to the national poverty rate of 0.6 percent.
The report also found that intra-ethnic income disparity remains a problem in Malaysia.
Disparity is the widest in the Chinese community, with the Gini coefficient standing at 0.405 in 2014, it said.
“The characteristic that explains a significant amount of inequality is the education of the head of household, which accounts for 30 percent of the overall inequality,” it said.
In 2014, it reported, the top 20 percent of income earners in Malaysia earned a median monthly income of RM14,305.
This is 5.6 times more than the median income of those bottom 40 percent income earners (B40), who make RM2,357 per month.
A total of 2.7 million households fall in the B40 category.
The report states that they have limited access to quality healthcare and mostly live in crowded urban households.
“It would be important to ensure that the most vulnerable among the B40 do not fall through the cracks, despite the vast array of institutions that bring development to the people.
“In this regard, a more focused approach seems necessary: raising their mean income would truly meet the spirit of the inclusive approach as espoused by the 11th Malaysia Plan,” the report reads.