’8.3m M’sians will be poorer by 2020′

Promises of a high-income economy will come to naught, claims the opposition leader.

(Free Malaysia Today) – As many as 8.3 million Malaysians may be classified as urban poor – earning less than RM1,500 a month – by 2020, claimed Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.

A high inflation rate, he said, would only plunge more Malaysians into poverty even if incomes were to increase by 3.6% every year.

“…by 2020, there will be between 7 million and 8.3 million urban poor with monthly earnings of RM1,500 and below, according to the ETP’s (Economic Transformation Programme) own projections,” he said during a speech here.

He said this while delivering a keynote address entitled “Debunking ETP: Widening Income Gap”.

Even if wages were to grow at 3.6% every year over the next decade, there would still be 7.6 million people earning less than RM1,500 a month, Anwar said.

He also called the current national poverty line of RM700 “obsolete”, saying that many urban households were struggling with RM1,500 a month.

Anwar did not appear confident with the government’s claim to turn into a high-income nation by 2020.

Citing government figures, he said: “Wage growth in Malaysia recorded an average increase of 2.6% annually for the past 10 years while the cost of living has outpaced the wage growth.”

This, he said, contradicted the ETP’s claim that workers’ wages would grow at an average of 3.6% every year.