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Child Poverty in Malaysia: Issues and Challenges

Norhaslinda Jamaiudin (International Islamic University, Malaysia)

Pandemic, Politics, and a Fairer Society in Southeast Asia: A Malaysian Perspective

ISBN: 978-1-80455-589-7, eISBN: 978-1-80455-588-0

Publication date: 20 July 2023


Children in Malaysia, just as children in many other countries, are vulnerable to poverty. They are exposed to different forms of deprivation and the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated their predicament. Concerns have been raised about the impact of the pandemic on children’s well-being, as this health crisis had intensified the educational and economic disparities among children in Malaysia, and for some children the impact will be lifelong. It is important to recognise the multidimensionality of poverty in regard to deprivation among poor children; however, such concerns are less pronounced in public policy discussions. Demands for greater policy attention intensified following the increasing number of unemployed parents and bereaved children who lost their parents due to the pandemic. The scope of poverty alleviation policies failed to consider the varying poverty gaps between recipients and the various forms of deprivation experienced by children in poor and larger sized households. As a result, the allocation of funds for the improvement of children’s well-being has been insignificant. The aim of this chapter is to provide a thorough overview of child poverty in developed and developing countries and how child poverty has changed in Malaysia. The analysis in this chapter seeks to provide deep insights on the development of policies that address poverty among children in Malaysia. An analysis on budget appropriations reveals that efforts to address other dimensions of child development were steadily improved, but policy commitments for such purposes need to be intensified in the post-pandemic era when hundreds of thousands of families and children have been plunged into poverty. It is timely for policymakers to acknowledge the need for separate policy considerations for children since they experience poverty differently from adults. The fulfilment of their needs should be prioritised, and the recognition of this fact would produce desirable plans of action for children living in poverty.



Jamaiudin, N. (2023), "Child Poverty in Malaysia: Issues and Challenges", Shukri, S. (Ed.) Pandemic, Politics, and a Fairer Society in Southeast Asia: A Malaysian Perspective (Diverse Perspectives on Creating a Fairer Society), Emerald Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 157-176.



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