Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Eradicating hardcore poverty

Wednesday June 18, 2008

Eradicating hardcore poverty


(The Star) KOTA KINABALU: The Government is determined to eradicate hardcore poverty in two years despite the current austerity drive.

“We know it will not be easy but we are determined,” Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said when closing the Second International CEOs Conference here yesterday.

Handicraft attraction: Abdullah admiring ceramic plates known as Rinago made by handicraft demonstrator Kadazandusun woman Nuriah Jamirun on the sidelines of the conference in Kota Kinabalu yesterday. With him is Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman (left).

He said the priority now was also to close the gap between the rich and poor, the bumiputras and non-bumiputras as well as the differences in the level of development between Sabah, Sarawak and the peninsula.

He later told reporters that development projects for rural areas were not among those being considered for deferment as part of a mid-term review of the 9th Malaysia Plan due next week.

Abdullah said the affected projects were those deemed as large scale, not urgently required and yet to be implemented.

Asked about his feelings on the first 100 days in office following the March 8 polls, Abdullah said it had been a period of challenge and that there was still much to be achieved, noting that many pledges listed in Barisan Nasional’s 2004 manifesto had yet to be fulfilled.

“The biggest challenge facing us now is the increase in fuel prices which is bound to spill over to the prices of other goods,” he said.

In this regard, he said the Government was fully aware that the fuel price hike was bound to have an impact on the people but was faced with no other option.

He said the Government had to ensure that funds from the nation’s limited petroleum resources were maximised and not merely channelled for fuel subsidies.

“Which government wants to burden its people? We want to alleviate the people’s plight and I’m open to suggestions,” he added.

Asked whether he thought the 100% pay rise for Tenaga Nasional Bhd's chief executive officer Datuk Seri Che Khalib Mohamad Noh was justifiable, Abdullah said: “They should know better if its appropriate.”

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