Democratic Action Party (DAP) veteran Lim Kit Siang is all for the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to address poverty in the country.

According to Siang, who is also a federal lawmaker, RCI is a necessity, if Malaysia wanted to address the widening gap between the rich and the poor.  “When the marginalized groups in Malaysia can partake in our vision for shared prosperity, we will be able to celebrate Malaysia Day in the future with greater conviction,” he said in a statement to the local media.

Siang has now come out with a list of his recommended experts to be in the panel should the government set up the poverty RCI. He is currently, the Iskandar Puteri Minister of Parliament. Apart from him and many others concerned over the need to address the issue of poverty in the country is also The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP).

This week itself, CAP called for a clearer picture of Malaysia’s poverty rate from the government and to take corrective actions. This is a result of a revelation by United Nation’s special rapporteur on extreme poverty human rights Philip Alston that 16 to 20 percent of Malaysians living in poverty is a more realistic figure.

For the inclusions in the list of recommendations, Siang’s suggestions include Malaysian Institute of Economic Research chairman Tan Sri Kamil Salih; interethnic relations and poverty studies researcher Datuk Denison Jayasooria; and Yusof Ishak Institute of Southeast Asian Studies researcher Lee Hwok Aun. Lim has also proposed the inclusion of Associate Professor Madeline Burma who is currently a member of the Malaysian Human Rights Commission, as well as representatives from the World Bank Research Group in Kuala Lumpur and Unicef Malaysia.

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