If only all that oil money had not been frittered away and had instead been used to strengthen social safety nets, many families wouldn’t be struggling today.
In the course of writing the following piece for IPS, I found that a number of NGOs were working to plug the gaps in the existing social safety nets through which children and teenagers from disadvantaged families had fallen through. Unfortunately, these groups have suffered a sharp drop in donations and even volunteers.
When firms began slashing overtime and reducing the number of days worked because of the economic slowdown, households suffered. Many workers had previously taken out loans, whether from banks or moneylenders, on the strength of their overtime-boosted income, and were unable to service their loans; others found their homes being foreclosed.
“If they have children, their situation is worse. Some of them had to stop their children from going to school because they can’t afford bus fares, which had really gone up. If they have three or four children going to school, bus fares (at around 40 ringgit [or 11.67 dollars] monthly per child) can take up a big chunk of their incomes.”
Full IPS article here.