Problem of Poverty In Malaysia

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Malaysia is a diverse and developing country, with a vast potential to be one of the preferred countries for foreign investors to invest in. As wonderful as it sounds, all countries are facing all sorts of issues, be it in terms of economy, social, politics or culture. One of the common issues is in terms of social problems namely poverty.
According to UNESCO (2001), poverty can be defined in two categories namely relative poverty and absolute poverty. For those living in absolute poverty, this can mean that they have very few to none amount of money to meet necessities such as food, clean water, shelter and clothing. It is not concerned with a wider life quality issues or the overall societal inequality. Meanwhile, relative poverty means it is related to other people’s economic status in the society. They will be considered poor if they fall below usual standards of living in a given societal context. Both these categories are mainly concerned with income and consumption. Therefore, the government of Malaysia came up with various programs and projects related to poverty eradication. The main purpose is to eradicate poverty, helping those in need in easing some burdens in their life while helping to improve their quality of life.
One of the programs that the government has implemented is “Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH)” which replaced “Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M). The purpose of this program is to alleviate the cost of living of those who are eligible to benefit from this program who are in the low-income groups (B40) with income lower than RM4,000 and they will earn from RM500 to RM1,000 depending on the size of the household. It was estimated that about 4.1 million of households will receive the monetary aid of RM5 billion. For those who want to apply for the benefit, their nationality must be Malaysian and staying in Malaysia, with monthly income less than RM4,000 and below, Malaysian married couples with the MyKad identity cards or non-Malaysian couples with a child that possesses a MyKad identity card. The relationship with the child must be a biological relationship or an adopted child registered under National Registration Department.
The child must be of Malaysian nationality with the possession of the MyKad or MyKid identity cards, is unemployed, below 18 years of age or below 19 of age but pursuing in tertiary education or is a handicapped person that has been registered under Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat Malaysia (JKMM). Besides that, those who benefit from the monetary aid can also benefit from the scheme made by the Pakatan Harapan government namely mySalam. Another scheme is PeKaB40 which is an initiative made by the government under the Ministry of Health Malaysia. Both schemes focus on health and those in the B40 groups are prioritized to obtain aid if they are eligible for them.
Background of the Organization
Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri Malaysia (LHDNM) is one of the main agencies under the Ministry of Finance who is responsible for collecting and administering the country’s direct taxes. Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri Malaysia (LHDNM) was established under Act 533, Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia Act 1995 to gain more authority especially in organizing finance and personnel management to improve the quality of tax administration. It is formerly known as Jabatan Hasil Dalam Negeri Malaysia (JHDNM). It was incorporated on 1st March 1996 and is known as Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri Malaysia (LHDNM) (Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri Malaysia, 2019).
On 31st May 2018, the Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad, announced that Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) will be replace as Bantuan Sara Hidup Rakyat (BSH) (, 2019). The eligibility requirements for Bantuan Sara Hidup Rakyat (BSH) can be found in its own website which is handle by Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri Malaysia (LHDNM). Since the Prime Minister entrusted them with the task, Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri Malaysia (LHDNM) has created a website for Bantuan Sara Hidup Rakyat (BSH) to ensure that people can easily find the information and it is convenience as it is user-friendly website. People who want to register themselves in Bantuan Sara Hidup Rakyat (BSH), they can go to Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri Malaysia (LHDNM) department to get a form or register through online in Bantuan Sara Hidup Rakyat (BSH) website. They should not worry about the registering procedure as Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri Malaysia (LHDNM) also provides tutorial on how to register step-by-step.
If individuals manage to pass the requirements provided and eligible for Bantuan Sara Hidup Rakyat (BSH), they will be notified through Short Message Service (SMS) or they can check it in Bantuan Sara Hidup Rakyat (BSH) website whether their application is approved by Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri Malaysia (LHDNM). However, if there is any problem regarding to their account, they need to seek help from Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri Malaysia (LHDNM) department itself.
In addition, Bantuan Sara Hidup Rakyat (BSH) also collaborates with PeKa B40 and mySalam. Skim Peduli Kesihatan untuk Kumpulan B40 (PeKa B40) is a government initiative through the Ministry of Health, aimed at the health needs of the low-income group, with a focus on Non-communicable Diseases (NCD). Bantuan Sara Hidup Rakyat (BSH) recipients and their spouses, ages 50 and over, are automatically eligible for a B40 certification. There is no special registration required (ProtectHealth Corporation, 2019). On the other side, Skim Perlindungan Kesihatan Nasional (mySalam) is an initiative made by Pakatan Harapan Government, aimed at providing free takaful health protection to 3.69 million B40 individuals who are the recipients of the Bantuan Sara Hidup Rakyat (BSH) 2019 ages between 18 to 55 years old as well as their spouses (mySalam, 2019).
Problem Analysis
Strength, Weakness, Opportunity, Threats (SWOT)
The strength of Bantuan Sara Hidup Rakyat (BSH) is it can reduce discrimination against housewives. Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) was the former name of Bantuan Sara Hidup Rakyat (BSH) until 31st May 2018. Anyone can register for Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M), however, if the husbands registered their name in Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M), their wives were not eligible to be a recipient because only the husbands had control over Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M). Some of the husbands were willing to share a little amount of money to their wives and some of them kept it for themselves. In other words, since the wives had no power in controlling Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M), the husband can do whatever they want without people knowing. When Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) was replaced by Bantuan Sara Hidup Rakyat (BSH), wives have the chance to spend the money to buy groceries since Bantuan Sara Hidup Rakyat (BSH) only allowed wives to register the account instead of their husbands.
Besides that, Bantuan Sara Hidup Rakyat (BSH) is easy and convenience to apply. Malaysia begins to develop more in technology and provides modern way to grab the users’ attention. Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri Malaysia (LHDNM) provides Bantuan Sara Hidup Rakyat (BSH) their own website where online registration is available. If the users have difficulty in registration, there are guidelines prepared by Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri Malaysia (LHDNM). The website also provides frequently asked questions (FAQ) for the users who have similar questions and information regarding to Bantuan Sara Hidup Rakyat (BSH). Other than that, a user can download Bantuan Sara Hidup Rakyat (BSH) forms to be fill in by the people who has limited internet. Not to mention that users can also update their information online since every Bantuan Sara Hidup Rakyat (BSH) accounts need to be up-to-date.
Every program has its own weakness. One of it is limited bank used to distribute the monetary aid to the recipients. The only bank they can go to is only Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN). Since the recipients can only retrieve the fun through BSN only, it makes the service offered by them even more ineffective and inefficient. The administration and the system management are rather weak resulting in numerous complaints from the recipients. Every time a phase of the financial aid distribution is carried out, all branches of BSN will get too crowded with endless queue and it would take a whole day just to receive the financial aid, which also has a lot of processes and only a maximum of two hundred beneficiaries will be distributed per branch. According to New Sarawak Tribune Online (2019), a recipient stated that she departed her house early in the morning to receive the fund but was informed by BSN that unfortunately, they only distributed up to two hundred beneficiaries for their branch.
Programs and projects are implemented for the purpose of helping the public, promote public values while enhancing the life standards of the people. However, as good as it sounds, it can be challenging to achieve the goal stated because of uncontrollable situations, especially externally. For the Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) program, there are quite a few challenges that need to be faced and tackled with. One of the first challenges to carry out this program is related to the applicants. As stated by Bernama (2019), there are approximately 45,000 of recipients of BSH who do not have bank accounts for the “Program Subsidi Petrol (PSP). This makes it more difficult for them to receive the fund. It will also complicate situations because some recipients do not know how to get bank accounts, especially the elderly.
Bantuan Sara Hidup Rakyat (BSH) has a good opportunity for the country. Government agency can cooperate with private company.
Corporation Sdn Bhd, set up under the Health Ministry, is cooperating with Mydin Mohamed Holdings Bhd and KK Supermart and Superstore Sdn Bhd to promote the “Skim Peduli Kesihatan” or also known as PeKa B40. PeKa B40 is a healthcare scheme for the low income B40 group. This private company will help to advocate PeKa B40 through various mediums like posters, leaflets, digital platforms at their branches nationwide. Based on the star online, there are more than 30,000 Bantuan Sara Hidup (Household living aid) recipients and couples aged 50 years and above had health screening under PeKa B40. The ministry through Protect Health welcomes the participation of private sector or non-governmental organizations interested in being PeKa B40 to promote information related to the initiative for the benefit of the people.
Our Prime Minister, Tun Mahathir Mohamad wanted citizen to explore in business course. Business can be a side income for the people to recover their purchases and at the same time to enrich their knowledge in new thing like technology, Management Information System (MIS) and other things. Government also provides a platform for new entrepreneurship to explore more knowledge in entrepreneurship, for an example Small Medium Enterprise (SME) and government also provide a website which is e-usahawan which they can register their product for easier the investor to recognize the existence of their product. This opportunity helps new entrepreneur to come up with new idea especially in innovation that will help to produce new product or services like Food Panda or Grab Food or Haus Boom. Other than that, it will help to improve Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of a country.
Bantuan Sara Hidup Rakyat (BSH) helps many people. However, as it is progressing, there are several threats could affect it. The conditions or pattern of economy always changes. The growth of economy experience influences by external factors. Based on The Star Online (2019) reported that the uncertainties in the United States monetary policies, the slowdown in China’s economic growth and the ongoing trade tension between the United States and China also affected global economy and thus the nation’s economy. Another factor might be the government facing the nation’s debt which is 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB). According to our Finance Minister, Lim Guang Eng, our country debt still remains above RM1 trillion. Moreover, the amount of debt keeps on increases cause of the need the government to recover all the purchases major sector of a country.
The density population in Malaysia keeps on increase year by year. Currently, the Malaysia’s population size increase from 2018 to 2019 which is 32,382,3 to 32,581,4 respectively. The number of applicants BSH also might be increase due to cost of living is high caused of unstable economy of a country. The government also needs to provide huge amount of money to recover the purchases for Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) programmes.
One of the recommendations is the agency that responsible for Bantuan Sara Hidup Rakyat (BSH) need to expand their connection with another bank besides BSN. Government should not focus only one bank to contribute Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH). They should appoint another bank such as Bank Islam or Public Bank to help reduce the burden of Bank Rakyat. It is because some of the BSN branches limits their ticket number for only 200 applicants at a time. Moreover, the counter usually operates one or two counters and might arises unsatisfaction towards the services that provide by responsible bank.
Besides that, Bantuan Sara Hidup Rakyat (BSH) need to expand the age group of applicants. Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) only focused on adult and Orang Kurang Upaya (OKU) categories. The government should expand the age of applicants for single category who has low income so that it can ease their burden. The requirement for qualified recipients should be strict to avoid inequality which can rise propaganda. Moreover, Orang Kurang Upaya (OKU) category is important as they have high needs in daily life.
In addition, Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri Malaysia (LHDNM) should improves the management information system of Bantuan Sara Hidup Rakyat (BSH). Bank who responsible to make BSH more effective and efficient should update their system by weekly or monthly. It is because to avoid any congestion when recipients apply for Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) at any BSN branches. For example, since Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) is new from its former name Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M), a lot of previous receivers of BR1M had confusion when their old account is not valid because the bank does not inform them that they need to open a new account for Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH). This rise misunderstanding when some of them did not receive the money as promised.
Last but not least, BSN should conduct the application of Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) by phase to avoid congestion. When the number of applicants keep on rising, every BSN branch need to control the situation professionally since there was a case where one of applicant had been rushed to the hospital because of severe congestion on the surrounding. To avoid something unexpected happen, they need to handle the situation by conducting phases as in procedure provided and help to reduce problems that can rise the health issue of the applicants.
Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) is one of the efforts of government to reduce the poverty in Malaysia. Based on the budget 2020 that announce by Finance minister, Lim Guang Eng, the value of Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) arises from RM250 to RM300. It helps especially for low income or B40 to recover their purchases. These programs also help for the people who want to start their own business. Moreover, Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) is continous the previous program which is BRIM. The continous of this program based on the high demand from citizen especially B40.

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