KOTA KINABALU: The number of heads of household categorised as hardcore poor in Sabah, registered under the e-Kasih system, dropped to 12,555 as of March 31, compared to 22,510 recorded last year, the Sabah State Legislative Assembly sitting was told today.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Hajiji Noor said changes in status could result from changes in the number of household members, income, assistance they received, and other factors such as relocations or deaths.

“The state government has established the main committee and the Hardcore Poverty Eradication Technical Committee to coordinate and monitor the Hardcore Poverty Eradication Programme in Sabah by 2024 or 2025.

“This programme will cover five main aspects, namely employment, entrepreneurship, housing, education and welfare,” he said in reply to a question from Alias Sani (Warisan-Sekong) about the steps taken by the state government to lift Sabah from the status of Malaysia’s poorest state.

Elaborating, Hajiji said the assistance would involve the coordination of various state and federal government agencies, private companies, and industry players.

“So far, 27 agencies have pledged their commitment to this programme, comprising 10 Sabah state ministries, nine state government agencies, seven federal government agencies and one industry player,” he said.

He reiterated the Sabah government’s commitment to tackling the issue of poverty through the Sabah Maju Jaya (SMJ) Development Plan 1.0 2021-2025, which is in line with the federal government’s desire to end hardcore poverty in Malaysia.

Hajiji said the calculation of the poverty rate in the country is measured based on the Poverty Line Income (PGK) for absolute poverty and the Food PGK for hardcore poverty.

“Beginning this year, the implementation of the poverty programme will use the 2022 PGK which has seen an increase from RM2,537 to RM2,742, while the Food PGK raised from RM1,179 to RM1,218.

“I urge more companies in the state to come forward and contribute to the state government’s initiative to provide opportunities to the hardcore poor in an effort to realise the Hardcore Poverty Eradication Programme in Sabah,” he added.