SOCIAL INCLUSION ACT & Establishment of a Social Inclusion Commission

By:

Jayanath Appudurai

Affiliations:

SAYA ANAK BANGSA MALAYSIA [SABM]

Policy Code:

3e Economic Justice

Problem Statement:

• The vision to achieve a just, equitable and inclusive society is enshrined in the Rukunegara proclaimed on the 31st August 1970; and that we are far from realizing the national aspiration set forth in this historic document.

• Almost forty percent of Malaysians are still trapped in the inter-generational cycle of poverty and inequality. Poor and Low-Income households comprising 12 million citizens lack the capability to overcome the multi-dimensional disadvantages they face on a daily basis.
• Vulnerable individuals and groups, citizens and non-citizens alike, continue to encounter prejudice, discrimination and remain marginalized.
• There is an increasing disconnect between our people from the Bottom 40% households with the rest of society. They are trapped in a constellation of disadvantages due to the low asset base that includes low levels of education and skills, poor nutrition and health; and unwholesome living conditions.
• A host of social ills associated with dysfunctional families from this stratum of our society is becoming evident. Increasing rates of substance abuse, delinquency and dropouts, child abuse, crime and mental illnesses, are clear indicators that something is amiss in our beloved nation.

Value(s) and Belief(s):

The rationale for the SIA is the need for a new paradigm that focuses on long term solutions to bring about a socially just and more inclusive society. The overarching reasons for this call to adopt and implement the Social Inclusion Act are:
• The basic needs of all people must be fulfilled in a fair and equitable manner to realize a socially harmonious society that we all aspire to achieve;

• Uplifting the socio-economic status of the disadvantaged members in our society has always been one of the main goals of all development plans;

• Inculcating the spirit of self-reliance, strengthening self-esteem and upholding the dignity of our people are fundamental values enshrined in universal human rights and enjoined by all faiths;

• Providing our less fortunate children the hope and the capability to break the inter- generational cycle of poverty and inequality is imperative; and

• Ensuring that all groups, including migrant workers, refugees and asylum seekers, will be served by a truly inclusive agenda.

Proposal of Solution:

To address the root causes of poverty and marginalization in a non-partisan and dispassionate manner, it is proposed, that;
• An independent Social Inclusion Commission answerable directly to Parliament be established. This Commission would be mandated to have oversight over all matters of poverty reduction, affirmative action and social inclusiveness.

Translation

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