Sarawak’s real poverty rate: 5.3% or ?


One of the biggest issues in the forthcoming Sarawak election is the level of income distribution, inequality and poverty in the state, or more specifically how many people have been left behind or totally left out in this resource-rich state.

BN propaganda inevitably touches on how the official poverty rate in Sarawak has purportedly plunged during the Taib years to only around 5 per cent now. Take for example this piece in the BN’s

In the mid-1980s, Chief Minister Taib faced a Sarawak where nearly 32% of its population lived in poverty, a shocking statistic to anyone living in the Western world. In three decades of democratic leadership, Taib has helped pull his citizens out of the depths of destitution. Now only 5.3% of Sarawakians live in poverty. For comparison, that is less then half the amount of Americans who live below the poverty line, a startling feat.

Less than half the US poverty rate? Betulkah? That is indeed startling! This assertion is repeated over and over again in But then, what about that inconvenient truth – all those natives living without proper water and electricity supply and latrine facilities?

How realistic is the official poverty rate figure then? Coming up with a realistic poverty rate depends on how you set the poverty line income threshold, and whether that threshold is a fair reflection of reality.
Aliran expert Philip Khoo takes a closer look and gives us a clue as to what a more realistic poverty rate for Sarawak might be. His conclusion is even more startling than Sarawak Reports’ claim!

Please help to support this blog if you can.

Read the commenting guidlelines for this blog.
Notify of

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

One conclusion after Philips Khoo piece:
Rocky bru’s assessment of those blogs are very “balanced”. A great self balancing act indeed. He has the balance of my support.

I think he’s also very capable of his own financial planning and should be balancing his bank account well.

We should learn from him.

Btw, where can i apply job as cyber troop? I think i can do a better job than 5 of gerakan k add together. And that will more than balance the equation.

Gerakan K

Sorry anil, since this commentator mentioned my name, and acting in such a “biadap way” and I have to respond. Ok, in order to do better than Gerakan K, then you have to post comments almost everyday in this blog. Since this commentator said he can do better than 5 x Gerakan K, then I expect this commentator able to post comments in this blog everyday, nonstop even on public holidays. (anil must be smilling now as he can secure another long term commentator) Now, let us observe if this commentator can do the job as claimed. If you can… Read more »

Andrew I

Yo, you getting a little pickled here?

Don’t worry. I’ll make sure you hold on to your Gherkin Award. 🙂

Gerakan K

So sorry to disappoint you that usually I will turn off the flash player. So I will not able to see any video posting.

Of course, I will see video posted by anil.

Andrew I

Your loss. Nvm, Others will enjoy.

Video info: recruitment drive by the Village People. A lesser hit than YMCA, but just as hilarious.


Once again, BN, showed it really does not have good materials in them. The original Sarawak Report becomes Sarawak a blog to confuse the Rakyat. As they say, the best form of flattery is imitation and UMNOsaja cyber troopers had been going all out to use others identity to create confusion in their comments. This is especially prevalent in Malaysian Insider. And the kind of people who are writing the comments, OMG, their mentality is worse than one of the commenters in your blog who always got his comments thumbed down! Is there really good materials in UMNOsaja? Or… Read more »


Taib lead Sarawak government (perhaps defines) “Poverty” as those earn below one hundred Riggits a month, live without clothing and three meals a day. As long as the native Sarawkian live in a house, he or she can not be considered as “In Poverty”!

Andrew I

Like the .3 for more credibility.

It’s quite funny when they start comparing with the west. We have an Italian President who is involved in a sex scandal, which even the liberal Italians can’t stomach, political parties in the west that can be ‘dethroned’ if their leader was implicated in a sex scandal and now this.

I love elections. Lots of great entertainment. Even the NTV7 news has more local content than usual.