Situation in Malaysia
Children in an Urban World
©Courtesy of Leanne Ali
Malaysia has experienced several decades of impressive economic and social progress that has resulted in better access to healthcare, education, clean water and sanitation for her people.
The country's economic progress has led to increased urbanisation as more and more Malaysians migrate to cities to further their education and pursue employment. More than two thirds of the population lives in urban areas, with urbanisation by each state ranging from 35 per cent to 90 percent. It also varies by ethnic group. ¹
While the Government has introduced policies such as the National Urbanisation Policy in 2006, urbanisation has led to the creation of urban pockets that contain vulnerable population groups. They include children and families who experience persistent inequalities in income and education as compared to other sub-urban groups.
Children are the most at risk within these vulnerable groups, especially in larger households. Children living in urban households headed by women have a much higher probability of growing up in poverty as compared to households headed by men. ²
With urbanisation, the proportion of children under 15 years of age living in rural poverty has declined overall, but this has led to almost 40 per cent of children under 15 years of age living in poverty in urban areas. In addition, the urban poverty gap index has not changed much from 1999 - 2009. ³
Impact of child poverty
Children who grow up poor are vulnerable and are more likely to be in poor health, to face learning and behavioural difficulties, perform below expectations in school and are often exposed to violence and exploitation. All this contributes to widening inequality within the urban poor and other urban sub-populations. In addition, child poverty has potential long-term effects on cognitive, physical and emotional development as well as health. Key initiatives in tackling child poverty in urban areas
The Government of Malaysia and its partners have been making inroads in ensuring a more inclusive social net for everyone, especially in urban areas. More focus has been paid towards providing easier access to healthcare services through the 1Malaysia clinics, the setting up of alternative learning centres in high-risk urban areas and the introduction of planning instruments such as the National Urbanisation Policy and the Malaysian Urban Indication Network.
Malaysian MDG Report 2010 - Page 1
Malaysian MDG Report 2010 - Page 15
Malaysian MDG Report 2010 - Page 12