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SOCIAL ASPECTS OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT IN MALAYSIA

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POVERTY

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The formulation of poverty alleviation policies and programmes in Malaysia has been led and coordinated by the Economic Planning Unit, Prime Minister's Department.  The task of coordinating and monitoring the implementation of various anti-poverty programmes has been assigned to the Ministry of Rural Development.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

The process has been a multi-tiered one, involving village leaders at the bottom, the federal, state and local levels of the public service machinery, the Cabinet and, at the very top, Parliament. In addition to the government, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and the state-based Poverty Eradication Foundations, with the support of the private sector, have also voluntarily involved themselves in helping to reduce poverty in Malaysia.

Programmes and Projects 

While attention will continue to be given to direct welfare assistance, attitudinal change and the provision of basic amenities, poverty eradication programmes will place primary emphasis on income-generating projects. Among others, the income-generating projects include cash crop cultivation, livestock rearing, aquaculture, petty trading and cottage industries.

Status 

Malaysia achieved real progress from 1991-1995. The incidence of overall poverty in Malaysia was reduced from 17.1 per cent in 1990 to 9.6 percent in 1995, surpassing the Sixth Plan target of 11.1 percent. During the Sixth Plan period, the focus of anti-poverty programmes was directed at the hardcore poor. Efforts to eradicate hardcore poverty were spearheaded by a special programme known as the Development Programme for the Poorest. As a result, the incidence of hardcore poverty in Malaysia decreased from 4.0 percent in 1990 to 2.2 percent in 1995. In alleviating poverty, the Government implemented various programmes and projects aimed at rural and agricultural households. Among others, the poor participated and benefitted from projects such as the Integrated Agricultural Development Projects, the provision of agriculture infrastructure, replanting schemes, land consolidation and rehabilitation, and support services. In addition, greater employment opportunities from off-farm and non-farm activities helped to increase income of poor households.

The thrust of poverty eradication during 1996-2000 is directed at reducing the incidence of poverty among Malaysians to 5.5 per cent by the year 2000. At the same time, hardcore poverty will be practically eradicated by lowering its incidence to about 0.5 per cent. Anti-poverty programmes will be targeted towards eradicating poverty in areas and among groups with high incidence of poverty. Priority will be given to the poorest states and districts as well as the Orang Asli (aboriginal people of Peninsular Malaysia) community and the urban poor.

Challenges  

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

Some of the pertinent issues include the provision of training, in terms of attitudinal change as well as the application of improved production technology and small-scale industry among agricultural households, and general education for children of poor households, especially in rural areas.

Information   

No information is available.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available.

Financing 

Anti-poverty programmes in Malaysia have been mostly funded domestically, either through public or private sources.

Cooperation

Malaysia has been actively involved in sharing its successful experience in poverty alleviation in a number of regional and international seminars/workshops, organized by ESCAP, ECOSOC, UNDP, the Commonwealth Secretariat, UNCTAD and the United Nations, as well as through bilateral arrangement with individual countries.

 

 

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This information is based on Malaysia's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.


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DEMOGRAPHICS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The National Population and Family Development Board (NPFDB), established in 1966 under the Population and Family Development Act (Revised 1988), is a statutory body under the Ministry of National Unity and Social Development.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

The Malaysian government has taken steps towards the formulation of a National Plan of Action on Population and Development (NPA). This plan of action is based on the findings and recommendations of the Strategic Plan Studies on the Implementation of the National Population Policy conducted in 1992 and also the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action (POA). Twelve chapters have been identified to be included in the NPA taking into account national priorities, targets and principles. Malaysia is also currently in the process of developing a National Programme of Action for Families which will be ready by mid 1997. Malaysia is currently reviewing and strengthening its mechanism for planning, coordinating and implementing population and family development programmes.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available.

Status 

Major target groups include the general population, families, married women in the reproductive age group (15-49 years), youth and children. In the Government's view, both population growth and fertility levels are satisfactory. Total population increased at 2.7 percent per annum during 1991-1995, to reach 20.69 million in 1995. In terms of age structure, about 35 percent of the population is below the age of 15, while 3.7 percent were in the age group 65 and above. The remaining 61 percent falls within the working age group 15-64. The dependency ratio dropped to 64 in 1995 as compared to 69 in 1991. The relatively lower dependency ratio can be explained largely by the reduction in the proportion of the population aged below 15 years as a result of continued declines in fertility.

Challenges  

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

Issues on which Malaysia is building its capacity include:

Information   

No information is available.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available.

Financing 

The population and family development programmes and activities are domestically funded. International financing is sought for special activities. 

Cooperation

Malaysia cooperates with:

 

 

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This information is based on Malaysia's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.


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HEALTH

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Health Ministry is the principal government agency.  The District Health Office is responsible for preventive programmes like communicable disease control, vector control as well as environment sanitation.

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

NGOs are particularly active in health promotion and awareness building activities, through independent programmes and in cooperation with the government. Disease control activities are also undertaken by local authorities with internal health inspectorates and play an important role in the detection and prevention of communicable diseases in urban and semi-urban areas.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available.

Status 

Health for all is a national priority in Malaysia. Significant progress has been made in establishing an extensive health care delivery system for the rural population, through a network of health facilities supported by an organized system of referral. Health Centres, now called Health Clinics, focus on all four components of preventive, promotive, curative and rehabilitative services such as communicable disease control, treatment of early conditions and diseases, maternal and child health services, family planning and health education. To further facilitate these clinics to be a one-stop centre, new programmes for the elderly, adolescent, mental health, workers health and rehabilitation have been added. Rural Health Clinics, now called Community Nurse Clinics provide maternal and child health services and basic curative services. Mobile teams make regular visits to pockets of population in remote areas and special institutions. District hospitals provide curative care for both medical and dental problems. Large District Hospitals also provide basic specialists services.  In the urban areas, the establishment of polyclinics provide affordable outpatient services. The population also has access to private clinics and hospitals.

The combined rural and urban health care system have contributed to the increased coverage of immunisation against childhood diseases, namely tuberculosis, polio, tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, to a level exceeding 85%. The country eradicated polio in 1995 and is working towards elimination of tetanus. Significant progress has been made to control other communicable diseases such as malaria, filariasis, typhoid, hepatitis A, leprosy, and tuberculosis through improved sanitation facilities, increased access to safe drinking water and improved dental health. The resurgence of some communicable diseases as a result of rural-urban and international transmigration and the spread of AIDS are being addressed. New programmes are being initiated to address the challenges posed by increased incidence of non-communicable diseases like lifestyle-related illnesses, environmental health and occupational diseases. Health promotion activities emphasize advertising and marketing positive health behaviour through the Health Ministry's annual Healthy Life Style Campaigns, beginning 1991 onwards, with disease-specific themes such as prevention of diabetes mellitus in 1996 and healthy diet and nutrition in 1997. Community participation and the involvement of non-governmental organisations have contributed to the success in the implementation of these programmes. Collaboration with government agencies, for example the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, has allowed emerging problems related to industrialisation and occupational health to be addressed.

Challenges  

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

To ensure quality care and cater for the expanding health programmes, continuous training of in-service medical and health personnel is emphasised. The relative shortage of trained health personnel is a constraint to the health care system. Remedial measures include increasing the intake of medical students in the local universities, recruiting foreign doctors and nurses and reemployment of retired health personnel. Private institutions are being given permission to run twinning programmes for medical students with established medical facilities/universities overseas as well as nursing colleges. Improved service conditions for doctors and specialists are also being offered by the government.

Information   

No information is available.

Research and Technologies 

Considerable research has already been undertaken in vector-borne diseases, nutritional disorder and diarrhoeal diseases. Much of the work done on community diagnosis has contributed to the development of the rural health services and their expansion in the early 60's and 70's. Research institutions such as the Institute for Medical Research carry out a broad range of biomedical and health development-oriented research as well as act as a reference laboratory and provide sophisticated diagnostic services. The Public Health Institute as a lead agency in health system research collaborates with programme directors and the universities to identify research needs in the prevention, control and management of diseases as resource to its teaching programmes for basic and post-basic health courses.

Financing 

Local financial resources allocated for the health sector during the Sixth Malaysia Plan (1991 - 1995) amounted to RM 2,253 million, which is 4.1 percent of the total development allocation for the period. Funding from external aid agencies will still be required for specific training and research programmes and the purchase of specialized skills.

Cooperation

Malaysia continues to rely on the World Health Organization and other international bodies for the development and improvement of various types of vaccines.

 

 

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This information is based on Malaysia's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

Click here to go to the Health and health-related statistical information from the World Health Organization.

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EDUCATION

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

The Ministry of Education is the main governmental entity in educational matters. 

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

No information is available.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Education is seen as an important tool in promoting sustainable development and improving the capacity of the people to address environment and development issues. It allows people to become nature sensitive and aware of the surrounding environment as they learn about conflicts and issues; develop knowledge about ecology; understand the relationships between people and nature; and become committed to reasoning conflicts and problems affecting their local environment. Thus environmental education is an educational process about, for and through the environment to upgrade the living standards of the people. It is needed by all sectors and levels of society aspiring towards sustainability which incidentally is an implicit feature of Malaysia's Vision 2020. The Seventh Malaysia Plan (1996-2000) has emphasised ensuring sustainable development education in all its developmental programmes. The thrust of the plan includes: infusing formal environmental education in the school curriculum, active participation of public and private sectors including NGOs in promoting environmentally responsible practices; and broad base campaigns through mass media in encouraging life-long process of environmental education.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement   

Collaboration among NGOs, private sectors and government agencies for the betterment of the environment is illustrated by the Hibiscus Award and the Tree Planting Group which were initiated by a group of NGOs. The corporate sector in Malaysia supports educational and awareness by making contributions to the Environmental Education and Awareness Trust Fund. The private sectors support successfully a number of environmental awareness activities for example in the organization of Environmental Journalism Award, Beautification of Schools and etc. All major newspapers in Malaysia have introduced a special column on environment.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available.

Status   

No information is available.

Challenges  

No information is available.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising 

The Ministry of Education has played an aggressive role in its effort to develop a curriculum on environmental education, to implement varied and diverse teaching and learning strategies in order to maximise awareness, and to internalise values relevant to the preservation and conservation of the environment. An environmental education programme is implemented with focus on educating the society to be more sensitive and concerned about environmental issues, knowledgeable, skilled and committed in order to act as individuals or collectively in addressing environmental issues. This programme cuts across the primary and secondary school curriculum. It consists of six main topics that are integrated into all subjects of the curriculum. 

Conscious efforts to teach these integrated elements in the classroom and outside the classroom have resulted in much greater awareness amongst students about the quality and state of the environment. Where appropriate, an educational television programme produced by the Ministry of Education has continued to give focus to the need for awareness on environmental issues. This is to instill in viewers the sense of maintaining the quality of the environment. Environmental related courses are also offered at the tertiary levels and teachers training colleges within their existing curricular. From time to time specialised short courses and training programmes are organized. These cater to professional from a multitude of backgrounds according to their training and professional needs, increase awareness, and enhance local capacity to manage the environment. Promoting broad public awareness is an essential part of a global education effort to strengthen attitudes, values and actions which are compatible with sustainable development. Seminars and workshops have been organised to impart knowledge and instill awareness in order to help Malaysians adopt a more environment-friendly lifestyle and consumption habit.

The post-2000 era will also see further development in the area of educational broadcasting and the emergence of a stronger information technology network for educational uses. The Ministry will continue to provide users of educational electronic media with programmes and resources relating to the use of natural resources and the environment.

Information   

No information is available.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available.

Financing 

The Department was allocated a total amount of RM15 million to execute its environmental awareness programmes and activities. Beside this allocation, the Department was also allocated RM200 thousand every year under the Promotion of Environmental Research, Education and Awareness Fund.

Cooperation  

No information is available.

 

 

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This information is based on Malaysia's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997

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HUMAN SETTLEMENTS

Decision-Making: Coordinating Bodies   

Major decisions regarding land are made by State governments.  The Federal Constitution provides for the National Land Council (NLC) to advise on matters relating to natural resources. The NLC has contributed to the formation of the National Forestry Policy, the National Agricultural Policy and the National Minerals Policy. 

Decision-Making: Legislation and Regulations 

The Environment Quality Order of 1987 identified 19 categories of development activities that require environmental impact assessments. This order approves or rejects the report about a project and not the project itself. A conservation clause is included in every development project agreement so as to strengthen environmental control and preventive measures. Various acts related to sewage and solid wastes, soil erosion and watershed management need strengthening. Local planning authorities are responsible for planning approvals, but face a shortage of technical personnel to regulate activities.

Much construction has been based on inappropriate standards. Attention is now focused on developing standards appropriate to tropical and local conditions. Current policies support sustainable construction industry activities. National and state laws and regulations, including the Uniform Building By-laws, provide for such activities to be monitored and enforced by local authorities. State governments have played an important role in fixing quotas and price ceilings to ensure access to low-cost housing by the poor. Banks also help by providing low interest loans. Environmental management strategies are also moving away from remedial towards preventive approaches. The Sewerage Services Act of 1993 aims to facilitate the privatization of public sewerage systems as a means to upgrade them. Environmental and sanitation programmes are being emphasized in rural and squatter areas. A feasibility study is also being planned to look into the privatisation of solid waste management services.

Decision-Making: Strategies, Policies and Plans  

Malaysia's national priority is to provide adequate shelter, relocation of industrial areas, improvement of service facilities for waste disposal, sewage treatment, sanitation, water supply and energy and transport.

Malaysia is formulating a National Urban Policy to ensure a more organized urbanization process and well-integrated rural-urban development linkages. The main objective of Malaysia's housing policy is to give emphasis to the provision of adequate, affordable and quality housing for all Malaysians. The government is encouraging the private sector to work with public agencies. The scarcity and high cost of land in urban areas as well as the rising cost of labour and materials plague low-cost housing schemes. Activities to relocate squatters are being developed and implemented in many towns.

The Sixth Malaysia Plan provided for the improvement of major inter-urban road networking, upgrading of road systems, modernization of the railway system and the expansion of maritime and air transportation facilities. Inadequate energy supply, due to growing industrialization, has resulted in the government's push for more efficient and reliable power generation. Nationwide flood mitigation programmes and construction of hydropower and irrigation dams have reduced the extent of flood damage that Malaysia is prone to. Flood mitigation measures however have not kept pace with development in areas most vulnerable to flooding.

The Sixth Malaysia Plan also incorporated environmental considerations more thoroughly than the previous five-year plans. Efforts continue to be made, however, to improve the balance between economic growth and environmental considerations. Greater emphasis is being given to incorporate environmental considerations into all aspects of planning and management. The promotion of the environmental impact assessment process is being strengthened.

The Town and Country Planning Department undertakes the preparation of development plans. Some Local Authorities within the Malaysian Peninsula started to develop their respective Structure Plans during the Fourth Malaysia Plan. The National Spatial Planning Project coordinates and integrates the various national plans and policies (e.g., the National Agriculture Policy, the Industrial Master Plan and the proposed National Urban Policy). The proposed National Urban Policy should address land-use matters. Training is being stressed to improve skills and technical capability, as well as to take into account environmental considerations. Many government agencies, universities and the private sector have set up geographic information systems (GIS) to assist in planning and management. The Department of Environment has a GIS and has set up a computerized database. Inter-agency coordination, information sharing, processing and dissemination needs to be enhanced to promote cross-sectoral integration and institutional capacity-building.

Decision-Making: Major Groups Involvement  

No information is available.

Programmes and Projects   

No information is available.

Status   

No information is available.

Challenges

Malaysia's chief needs are in developing technical standards and transfer of skills and particularly in the area of water supply development, health programmes and infrastructure construction.

Capacity-building, Education, Training and Awareness-raising   

No information is available.

Information   

No information is available.

Research and Technologies   

No information is available.

Financing 

Use of funds by developers is monitored and regulated by the Housing Developers Regulations of 1991. Lending and funding incentives are available to help developers and buyers. Incentives include a special fund to subsidize and promote the construction of low cost houses, better terms of housing loan to house buyers, better financing facilities to promote the construction of low to medium priced houses and allocation of houses for rent to the very poor. Domestic resources are generally adequate.

Cooperation

There are specific requirements for external assistance, including the upgrading of engineering skills and experience for the development of high-rise buildings and major infrastructure projects such as highways and airports.

 

 

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This information is based on Malaysia's submission to the 5th Session of the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, April 1997. Last update: 1 April 1997.

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