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MALAYSIA
Development
July 5, 2007

Govt serious about anti-poverty drive
Malaysia’s Prime Minister stressed July 4 that the government was serious about wiping out poverty in the country despite its rate having dropped to 5.7% now compared to 60% when the nation gained independence 50 year ago.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, however, wanted the community to be more involved in the effort and not leave it to the government to shoulder the burden.

"Everyone has a role to play in helping eradicate poverty irrespective of race or religion and to us as the government, it is a policy (poverty eradication) which we are pursuing vigorously," he said when launching a donation drive for the Poverty Eradication Foundation's Special Children's Education Centre, here.

Abdullah said the step was in line with the government's goal to ensure hardcore poverty is eradicated completely by 2010.

"Thank God, in our country we see many efforts taken to help the poor, disabled, destitute and orphans wherever they may be irrespective of ethnic group or religion, by people from all walks of life because we are a caring society," he said.

The Prime Minister said this caring nature among Malaysians must be maintained and that it helped the government in addressing the problem.

However, Abdullah reminded that help given not be overly focused in the money aspects but more in "teaching the target groups to learn to fish" to enable them to be self-reliant where possible.

At the function, which was also attended by his wife Datin Seri Jeanne Abdullah, the Prime Minister also made a personal contribution to the fund.

The fund is for the building of a Centre within a Community complex for special children from throughout the country.

The complex which is estimated to cost RM28 million is to be built on a 9.2-hectare site belonging to the foundation in Bukit Tasik Serendah, Selangor.

The Prime Minister also presented the Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi Poverty Eradication Award to Rural and Regional Development Ministry advisor Datuk Paduka Rahmah Abu Kassim at the function. Bernama

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