Book Review on Urban Poverty

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Book Review on Urban Poverty

B M Hasanul Banna
International Islamic University Malaysia

Urban poverty is the outcome of urban-bias development projects being predominantly financed by the external capital, either in the form of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) or Aid. The urban-bias industrialization strategy performed as a pull factor for the rural unemployed. This strategy contributed to the expanding of urban informal sectors where unskilled as well as highly unorganized day labours remain concentrated in the urban and semi-urban areas. It is also debated that the redistribution of capital investment towards the rural based agricultural activities including plantation sectors through the coordinated efforts of both public and private sectors such as civil and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can go a long way to break the growing negative effects of over urbanization on poverty, moral and social crimes as consequent of unequal economic growth. The author, Pramanik discusses urban poverty in Malaysia cases. He begins with the overview of the poverty scenario followed by research methods and research findings along with summarization & policy suggestions. This book contented five chapters including appendices, references and index. In the introductory chapter (pp.1-5), Pramanik says poverty is a multi-dimensional phenomenon that is hard to come up with a universally acceptable definition of poverty. Most commonly argued issue on poverty is whether poverty should be looked at from absolute or relative perspective. Absolute poverty based on specific income level called poverty line income (PLI) that can be calculated either using the market value of a basket full of goods and services considered essential for reasonably acceptable standard of living. On the contrary, relative poverty arises when we talk about how good or bad one member is doing in relation to another member living in the same society. According to O’Boyle, poverty is a concept that is both absolute and relative because human beings are at the same time individual and social (O’Boyle E.J, 1990). In chapter two (pp.7-20), Pramanik talks about poverty scenario in Malaysia. He argues that the income poverty using official poverty line income seems near to the absolute poverty whereas the human poverty based on the degree of human deprivation resembles relative poverty, which is ensuing of unequal access to income earning opportunity. Because of this, the author focuses more on human aspect of poverty in terms of its long term implications of social factors. Micro level study (Pramanik, 2004) do suggest that family size either in urban or rural areas of the four concentrated states namely, Kelantan, Terengganu, Kedah and Perak is quite above the family size used for the national level. Pramanik (1997 & 2000) examined that rural poverty in the four poverty-concentrated states on multi dimensional aspects of the problem such as, social, economic, demographic, psychological, political, moral, historical, attitudinal, and natural factors. In chapter three (pp.15-20), the author discusses regarding research methodology. The study is based on the primary data as well as secondary information. The primary data collected through the administration of well-structured questionnaire in the middle of 2006.The sampling technique used is purposive as well as random and based on participatory observation method. Around 3112 households from 8 major cities living in poverty concentrated areas classified by squatters, low-cost buildings, longhouses etc. were selected for data collection. He defined “household” as an entity of those living under the same roof as well as eating from the same kitchen. In chapter four (pp. 21-97), he talks about the research findings. The author uses purposive and collecting sampling technique to identify the level of poverty suffered by those living in the squatters and in the area/blocks/buildings designed for the lower...
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