Sultan Perak: Skyscrapers mean nothing if people still trapped in poverty

TOWERING skyscrapers have no meaning if there are still people trapped in poverty, struggling to secure basic necessities like food and shelter, said the Perak Sultan Nazrin Shah.

He added that the government must remain steadfast in its commitment to eradicate poverty, as poverty alleviation is crucial to guarantee the social well-being of the people.

“Addressing poverty stands as a central pillar of our (state) government’s Pelan Perak Sejahtera 2030 to ensure the equitable distribution of the state’s wealth for the benefit of all people.

“This includes efforts to enhance the overall quality of life, establish robust social safety nets, and provide quality healthcare services,” Sultan Nazrin stated in his speech when opening the second meeting of the 15th Perak state legislative assembly here today.

In pursuit of enhancing the state’s prosperity, the sultan said it is vital to recognise the deep connections between healthy relationships and the social determinants of health that profoundly impact the people’s overall well-being.

According to Sultan Nazrin, education is fundamental to promoting good health as it empowers individuals to make informed health choices and contributes significantly to national development.

He noted that education plays a crucial role in reshaping the poverty landscape by lifting people out of the cycle of poverty and improving their quality of life.

Sultan Nazrin also said while the education policy primarily falls under the purview of the federal government, the state government can implement initiatives aimed at ensuring high attendance rates in schools and providing incentives to enhance students’ interest in education.

“We must prioritise the education agenda to prevent the perpetuation of poverty and foster upward social mobility within families.”

The sultan pointed out the poverty eradication efforts spearheaded by the state government have brought a glimmer of hope, with the total number of hardcore poverty households reducing by 58% to 3,911 as of Dec 31 last year, from 9,402 households at the start of 2023.

This decline in extreme poverty, he added, was due to various factors, including the dedication shown by the district-level administrations and all relevant agencies.

“Through proactive teamwork involving a variety of stakeholders, including assistance from non-governmental organisations, we aim to ensure that all our people benefit from the progress of the state.

“Our government is dedicated to effectively implement public housing initiatives, ensuring the citizens’ housing needs are prioritised over the commercial interests of profit-seeking developers.”

According to Sultan Nazrin, a total of 8,030 affordable housing units were constructed in Perak over five years until last year, with the Perak housing and property board (LPHP) anticipating a demand for 57,407 housing units by 2030.

He further added that as many potential house buyers are struggling and cannot afford homes because of the disparities between their incomes and housing prices, the LPHP introduced the Perak Sejahtera rental scheme (SSPS) offering rental rates 20% below market rates.

“Additionally, the Perak Foundation launched the Sayangi Rumahku programme, providing free new housing assistance, as well as repair and enhancement programmes, to support underprivileged individuals, while the people’s housing programme (PPR) offers interest-free housing loans to eligible beneficiaries.

“LPHP has also submitted proposals for the establishment of PPR in various areas, involving the construction of 1,200 housing units for the people of Perak.” – Feb 23, 2024


Main photo credit: The Vibes

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