| Wani Roslan |
POVERTY MUST be completely eradicated as it can affect the welfare and security of the country, said Deputy Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Datin Paduka Hajah Adina binti Othman.
She was speaking at the launch of the ‘Family Poverty Eradication Workshop’ held in conjunction with the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.
The Deputy Minister said poverty in Brunei is in the form of relative poverty due to differences in income and standard of living. The citizens and residents in the country enjoy a comfortable life as they have access to basic necessities such as adequate food, free medical services and education as well as other services which receive substantial subsidies from the government.
However, she added, it is recognised that some citizens and residents suffer from poverty. This may affect the quality of family and upbringing of children.
The government’s Action Plan on Eradication of Poverty has identified 10 strategic issues in terms of education, health, housing, entrepreneurship, employment, training, transport, strengthening mechanisms, financial, and policy and legislation.
The Action Plan will be a guideline towards addressing issues of poverty in the country,
“Poverty is a global phenomenon faced by each country and it is a socio-economic disease which is not only experienced by developing countries but also developed countries. Poverty level in each country is different – either absolute or relative poverty.
“However, developed countries face different types of poverty from that of developing countries. As for developed countries, in the past, unemployment led to poverty, but, in today’s situation, those who are working are still experiencing poverty or (they are) ‘the working poor’ which is due to debt.”
Datin Paduka Hajah Adina said in an effort to eradicate poverty, the most important thing is how to empower the poor. Donations and financial support are necessary to avoid absolute poverty, however, to achieve sustainable efficiency, we need to empower the poor either through training, employment and education so they can be self-reliant and have self-esteem.
She also pointed out that through the Poverty Reduction Programme (Program Pengurangan Kemiskinan), various capacity building programmes and skills programmes have been prepared such as PERKASA, PROPAZ and Youth Self-Reliance Scheme (Skim Belia Berdikari), which have been running since a few years ago.
“The government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam has strived to put an effort towards providing employment opportunities to local people resulting in decreasing number of unemployed from 18,000 in year 2012 to 11,000 in 2014.”
Datin Paduka Hajah Adina also hoped that the participants in the workshop will be able to build knowledge, share experiences, and utilise them to enhance their living standards.
“Workshop participants should be able to open their minds and take the opportunity provided, and subsequently, to undertake any activity that can help in generating income for self and family.”
She also urged various parties, either through agencies or non-government organisations, community groups, or as individuals, to continuously cooperate and work together in alleviating poverty.
People should also be responsible in ensuring the welfare and well-being of themselves and their families by enhancing their ability without expecting assistance from other parties.