PAS has proposed a national congress to discuss the issue of poverty, following criticism that Malaysia has been underestimating the extent of the problem in the country.
The party's deputy president Tuan Ibrahim Tuan Man said such a congress should involve all stakeholders regardless of their political stance, and formulate new resolutions to help overcome poverty.
“PAS is of the view that poverty should be the main focus, to ensure the wealth gap between urban and rural areas and between races can be narrowed. In addition, it involves policy changes, allocations for aid schemes, subsidies, and distribution of zakat.
“If various parties can sit together to discuss how to tackle poverty, then the majority of the people will benefit,” he said in a statement today.
PAS was responding to UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights Philip Alston, who claimed that Malaysia’s poverty rate is close to 15 percent.
This is in contrast to the official figure of 0.4 percent.
Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali has stood by the official figures, although his ministry’s yardstick for measuring poverty has been called outdated by the prime minister’s economic advisor Muhammed Abdul Khalid.
Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government will study Alston’s claims.