Tuesday, January 18, 2011


The Perak government via Yayasan Bina Upaya Darul Ridzuan aims to create sustainable livelihoods for 40% of the state's population who currently live below the poverty line.

Perak has 2.6 million people, of whom 40% have a monthly income of below RM1,500. These people also have dependents. Right now, there are some 20,000 names registered under this category with Yayasan Bina Upaya.

This body has been mandated by the state to spend RM4mil per year to provide micro-financing to deserving recipients.

“Initiated last March, this scheme will give out loans ranging between RM1,000 and RM20,000 to qualified recipients,” said Yayasan Bina Upaya's Chief Executive, Khairul Azwan Dato' Harun Saruji.

So far, a total of RM 900,000 worth of interest-free financing have been given out to 125 recipients. Going forward, recipients not categorised as hard-core poor will be charged some interest.

In Malaysia, the overall poverty line stands at around 3%. Those categorised as hard-core poor earn below RM420 per month.

Under the e-Kasih programme, (a national database system to implement and monitor anti-poverty programmes), the 6,000 hard-core poor in Perak have now been “zerorised”.

“I have an accumulated amount of RM7mil for micro-financing, which I intend to fully utilise this year. We have to be very careful about giving out the money only to those who really need it. Right now, we give training to our recipients and also monitor their progress. They have to be reminded that they need to pay back the loans,” said Khairul.

He added that he had 100 trained volunteers throughout Perak who not only monitored the borrowers, but gave recommendations of people who truly needed these loans.

“The most important thing is to create sustainable livelihoods for the borrowers. Right now we provide support to the recipients. For instance, among the single mothers we have set up a flea market called Uptown Ladies Market' where there are some 50 traders who only consist of single mothers selling a wide range of unique products,” said Khairul.

He added that he often followed his volunteers to investigate the real situation of some of the potential recipients.

Recently he visited a family living in the outskirts of Bidor who were in dire needs. The mother was slightly disabled and could no longer work. The husband earned RM20 per day collecting and selling tapioca when it didn't rain. They had one school-going child and lived in a railway quarters.

The house was in very bad shape, with a leaking roof and no proper door. Electricity had already been cut, so they were using candles. Water came from a well which was a few hundred metres away, while firewood was used to cook.

“When I saw them, the mother was preparing her child for school. I saw only plain porridge in the pot. At that time, the father came back riding his bicycle and carrying his tapioca. After introducing himself, he pointed to his empty rice bin and started crying. He said they had not eaten properly in two days,” said Khairul.

“Although they were so poor, they were still so determined to send their child to school.”

Khairul immediately arranged for their electricity supply to be reconnected, Yayasan Bina Upaya also sponsored the repair of the house and a motorcycle for the husband.

“The ultimate aim is to increase the income and improve the lives of this 40% of people,” he said.

Extract from:The Star


Delighted with this long overdue program especially so, that it is being spearheaded by an organisation headed by an Anak Keledang...Hopefully the program covers the Orang Asli community.

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