ASPECTS OF POVERTY IN MALAYSIA
concerned with the definition and measurement of poverty in Malaysia. A poverty line isestimated after considering both the absolute and relative approaches to the definition. Various indicesof poverty are discussed, ranging from the simple "incidence of poverty" measure to others which takeaccount of the "poverty gap". There is a derivation of a new index due to Sen, and alternativenormalizations are suggested for
these measures are presented for
Finally,the simple "incidence of poverty" measure, which
adopted to construct a "profile"of the poor in Malaysia.
One of the two fundamental objectives of the Malaysian Government's NewEconomic Policy is "... to eradicate poverty by raising income levels andincreasing employment opportunities for all Malaysians, irrespective of race"'.This paper examines some aspects of poverty in
from the data generatedby the 1970 Post Enumeration
The purpose of the study is to explore theextent and nature of poverty in
so that policy measures for its alleviationmight be considered.After a brief discussion of the Survey, and the income and populationconcepts relevant for a measurement of living standards in the population, we goon to define a poverty line for Malaysia. There is then a discussion on variousdifferent measures of poverty, including a recent one proposed by Sen. Alterna-tive normalizations are suggested for the Sen index, and estimates of thesemeasures are presented for Malaysia. Finally, a "profile" of the poor is con-structed, which describes them in terms of socio-economic characteristics such as
location, employment status, occupation, etc. Such information not onlyhelps to trace the "correlates" of
but also to identify areas of governmentintervention for poverty redressal.
POST ENUMERATION SURVEY
The data source for this study is the Post Enumeration Survey (PES) of the1970 Census. The survey covered a scientifically selected sample of about135,000 individuals (approximately 25,000 households) in Peninsular Malaysia,
*This paper was presented at the Fourteenth General Conference of the lARIW in Aulanko,Finland during August 18-23,1975.1 am grateful to the IARIW for
travel grant which enabled me toattend the Conference. For helpful comments on the paper, I should like to thank
B. Atkinson andJames Mirrlees.'See paragraph 1,
Mid-Term Review of
the Second Malaysia
^It will form part of a larger study analysing the distribution of personal incomes in Malaysia. SeeS. Anand, "The Size Distribution of Income in Malaysia", Part I (December 1973) and Part II (May
mimeographed. Development Research Center, World Bank and St. Catherine's College,Oxford (respectively).