The Working Poor


“Poverty”, as defined by the World Bank, refers to the minimum level of earnings by a person per day. In 2009, the mean of the national poverty line, better known as the Poverty Line Index (PLI), was adjusted to RM6.50 per capita (Malaysia: The Millennium Development Goals [MDG] 2010). Malaysia was amongst the first developing countries to define its PLI in 1977 as “absolute poverty”. In order to determine the PLI in 1977, the reference of a household of five persons was used. In 2005, the PLI was substantially revised from its 1977 predecessor – the calculation of PLI is separated for each household size, composition and location (Malaysia: Measuring and Monitoring Poverty and Inequality, 2008; United Nations Development Program [UNDP]).

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