It’s expensive to live in the city and the urban poor in Malaysia can attest to that. Now, it has been said that a household income of RM3,800 a month is not enough to sustain city life and this is rather worrying as some salaries do not even reach this amount.
According to Sinar Harian, Deputy Dean, Professor Dr. Mohamad Fazli Sabri from the Human Ecology Department in University Putra Malaysia (UPM) said that based on research, some of the people who are in the urban poor category are those who live in people’s housing projects (PPR).
He explained to the daily, “This problem is caused by two main factors which are low income and low education levels. The majority of the residents there are only secondary school graduates or lower, and they are usually working as clerks, admin staff or other basic jobs.”
He said that this issue must be handled well otherwise it might lead to social problems in the community such as drugs, vandalism, bullying and other similar incidents. Mohamad Fazli added, “This poverty forces parents to work even harder so that they can sustain their life in the city and this causes them to neglect their children.”
Since no one is supervising the kids, they can get into all sorts of trouble and this leads to a vicious cycle when this poverty is passed on to the younger generation. That said, not every family is like this, as he said that it really depends on the attitudes of the individuals. Some of them are not willing to change their attitudes but instead, they rely too much on getting help from others.
He said that based on his observations, there were some people who were not good at managing their finances, which was why they failed to organise their life in the city. He emphasised that education was one of the best ways to ensure that one manages to step out of the poverty cycle and also urged the government to make sure that the aid that is handed out is handled well.
Meanwhile, Minister of Rural Development, Datuk Seri Rina binti Mohd Harun said to Sinar Harian that the problems the urban poor were facing are worse than those who were facing poverty in rural areas. She said that in Kuala Lumpur or other big cities, these people who migrated to the city for job opportunities were forced to rent a room or house, which means they incurred more cost and was more likely to be homeless.
“Although they have lower income in rural areas, they still have the chance to build a comfortable life because they can still plant vegetables and farm in areas around their kampung house to minimise living expenses. At least they have their family home and don’t need to pay extra for a roof over their heads,” she explained.
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