Despite showing a slight improvement compared to four years ago, Sabah continues to record the highest poverty rate in the country.
Latest government figures show that the state’s poverty rate was 19.5 percent in 2019, down from 23.9 percent in 2016.
A simple estimate would mean more than 760,000 people of its 3.9 million population are living in poverty.
In second place was Kelantan with a 12.4 percent poverty rate. This suggests that more than 230,000 people in the state are living in poverty.
The figures also showed that poverty has worsened in Selangor and Malacca compared to four years ago.
In other states, meanwhile, poverty has improved. This was most significant in Labuan, Pahang, Johor and Perlis.
Kuala Lumpur recorded the lowest poverty rate nationwide at 0.2 percent.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department for Economy Mustapa Mohamed shared these statistics in a Dec 2 written parliamentary reply to PKR Alor Setar MP Chan Ming Kai.
When classified by ethnic groups, the minister said the poverty rate had improved among bumiputera, the Chinese community and Indian community.
Back in July, Putrajaya revised its method of measuring poverty for the first time in 15 years.
Using a more multidimensional approach, it set the poverty line index (PLI) at RM2,208 per month per household while the 2019 average poverty rate was 5.6 percent.
Under the previous method, the PLI had been RM980 per month per household while the 2016 average poverty rate had been 0.4 percent.
In his reply, Mustapa told Chan that the government did not classify births under household income categories.
Instead, he provided an ethnic breakdown by state.
Selangor recorded the most births in 2019 followed by Johor and Sabah.
The lowest number of births last year was recorded in Labuan, Putrajaya and Perlis.
Births in Selangor and Johor appeared the most ethnically diverse.