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Extreme poverty in Malaysia 'can be erased by 2010': scholar
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12:57, August 14, 2007

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Malaysia's success in the fight against poverty has been commended at an international conference here, local media reported on Tuesday.

Professor Jeffrey Sachs, director of Earth Institute in Columbia University, United States, and also special adviser to the UN secretary-general on issues relating to poverty reduction and debt cancellation for developing nations, said he was confident that extreme poverty in Malaysia would be a thing of the past by 2010.

"I believe that extreme poverty can be eliminated on a global scale by 2025. But the Malaysian government is already on the right track, so 2010 is definitely possible for Malaysia," he told the Conference on Poverty and Distribution Amidst Diversity held at Universiti Malaya (UM).

Malaysia was by far the most successful developing nation with tropical resource background, he said.

"It has much to offer to other developing nations especially sub-Saharan Africa.

"It can also serve as an example for other poverty stricken countries in the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)," the New Straits Times quoted Sachs as saying.

Sachs was quick to clarify that he was only talking about erasing extreme poverty and not relative poverty.

He explained that extreme poverty meant living in an environment without food security, clean water, sanitation, basic health service, literacy and basic income.

"That's the type of poverty that kills."

He described relative poverty as the type that would cause emotional humiliation, low standard of living and zero savings.

Sachs believes in adopting a holistic approach towards tackling poverty rather than depending solely on the trickle down effect of economic growth.

"I believe in mass scale intervention like regional development instigated by the Chinese government for western China. I believe infrastructure, health and education plays a large role in solving the problem of poverty.

"Reading from the newspapers, I believe your government believes in this too and is doing a good job at it."

He planned to work with UM's Center for Poverty and Development Studies to draw upon Malaysia's success and experience in undertaking poverty alleviation to formulate policies and programs for other countries in the region, he added.

Source: Xinhua



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