Okay, folks, I will be off to Kuala Terengganu tomorrow with a friend to check out the by-election scene. All the hotels are likely to be full, so I will take a tent along and just rough it out. It will be a homecoming of sorts, as I lived in Kuala Terengganu for two years, going to Standard One and Two at the Sultan Sulaiman Primary School. I must check out our old house there to see if it is still standing….
In the meantime, this was was taken from a posting by Pelanuk on the Berita Malaysia email list. Did the Pas administration in Terengganu, without the benefit of oil royalties, actually do better than Umno in reducing poverty in the state?
> Staronline today reports Terengganu MB Ahmad Said as saying that “claims
> that the Terengganu Government is rich but its people are poor are all
> lies”, that “poverty rate had been reduced from 89.9% since independence to
> only 13%”.
The curious thing is that by the BN government’s own figures, the poverty rate in Terengganu:
1995 — 23.4%
1999 — 14.9%
2002 — 10.7%
In other words, in the *four* years under the BN, from 1995-1999, the poverty rate fell by 36%, or an average of about 9% per year, while in the *three years* under PAS, it fell by 28%, or an average of just over 9% per year.
In 2004, the poverty line was revised, and we were not given the poverty rate according to the old poverty line for comparison with the above. However, we now know that the new rates for Terengganu are:
2004 — 15.4%
2007 — 13.0% (as reported above, and this is for 2007 since that was the year in which the Household Income Survey was conducted).
So, in the *three years* of the return of BN rule, the poverty rate fell by only 16%, of just over 5% per year.
By a coincidence, we have a direct comparison of the first three years of PAS in Terengganu and the first three years of the return of BN to Terengganu — and it’s a most unflaterring comparison for the BN.
PAS was denied the petroleum royalties, were faced with the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis, and yet in their first three years, the poverty rate fell 28%. In contrast, the first three years of the return of BN, with all the petroleum royalties, and in relatively easier times, saw only a fall of 16%. And those first three years of the return of the BN saw plenty of money to throw on the Monsoon Cup, on the Crystal Mosque, and what not. Wow!
It’s even worse when we consider that the 2004 15% poverty rate meant that around 30,000 household in Terengganu were poor. Since even the poor don’t have zero income, let’s assume that they need an average of around RM500 a month or RM6,000 a year to come up to around RM1,000 a month household income. RM6,000 x 30,000 = RM180 million a year, i.e., less than the RM300 million spent on the Monsoon Cup. Now why couldn’t they have done with a less costly Monsoon Cup, say, RM120 million, and distributed the balance? Then there would be zero poverty in Terengganu. And since the poor and low income would have spent all that RM180 million, it would have been a stimulus to the local Terengganu economy at the same time — so it wouldn’t have been money given away, but a way to generate economic activity while wiping out poverty. And they could still have their Monsoon Cup!
So, who’s lying???