Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim says the wide gap between the rich and the poor amongst Malays is a bigger issue that the federal government should concentrate on. ― Picture by K.E.Ooi
The Malay Mail: Rich Malay, poor Malay a bigger national issue, says Anwar
By Opalyn Mok

Published 28 November 2014

GEORGE TOWN, Nov 28 ― Malaysia’s main issue now is the wide disparity of income between Malays where the wealthy are very rich and the poor are poverty stricken, Opposition Leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said.

To back his assertion, the Permatang Pauh MP cited from the recently released United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) report, which he said states one of the challenges faced by Malaysia is the income inequalities and rising disparities that had shifted from inter-ethnic to intra-ethnic disparities.

“We are not talking about disparity of income between Malays and Chinese but between the rich and poor Malays, so whose fault is this? Lim Guan Eng? The Chinese?” he said rhetorically in his speech at a hawker complex in Bukit Gedung here last night.

UNDP’s inaugural Malaysia Human Development Report titled “Redesigning an Inclusive Future”, launched a few days ago, hightlighted that wealth in the country was skewed towards propping up those who are already rich. The report noted the income gap between the rich and poor has not changed in 20 years.

While the nation's eyes focus on the Umno general assembly taking place this week in Kuala Lumpur, Anwar hit his home state on a whirlwind tour to reach out to the grassroots.

He reminded the crowd the economic problems facing the nation stemmed from leadership issues, and affected all races and not just the Malays and accused the Barisan Nasional (BN) ruling coalition of playing up racial flash points to detract attention instead of finding ways to ease the people's financial burden.

“If we look at the Umno general assembly, all they ever talk about is Anwar did this, Anwar did that. Did they even talk about the economy or the rising costs and how to reduce poverty?” he said.

He took a dig at his political foes, telling the attendees that delegates at the Umno assembly were mercilessly attacking Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng and Pakatan Rakyat (PR) state government in a bid to score points.

PAS deputy president Mohamad Sabu was also present at the evening talk and hit out at Umno for pushing what he critised as a racial “propaganda” with its attacks against Lim and the DAP leader's state adminstration which purportedly sought to drive out Malays.

“This propaganda has been around since I was in Standard Six and until today, I kept hearing the same accusations that they had been making so many years ago against the Opposition,” he said.

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It is essential that Malaysia continues to prioritise inclusive growth and social cohesion, and moves forward with the second generation policies that are needed to support this.
-Frances Stewart