A medium sized fishing boat with the 1AZAM logo on the hull, teetered to the jetty at the fishing enclave of Kampung Bagan Pinang here, stands testament to the success of fisherman Saiful Jamil.

There was a time when this man, in his 30s now, earned a paltry sum as a coastal fisherman. At that time he only had a small boat (sampan), but now with the bigger boat he could cast his nets further from the shore and earn on average not less than RM1,500 per month.

Saiful, 34, one of the participants of Azam Tani under 1AZAM (Programme to End Poverty), has succeeded in improving his household income in line with the goal of the programme to enhance the standard of living of low income earners in the country.

The 1AZAM programme was introduced by the government at the end of January 2010.

Just two years earlier, the father of four never imagined how his family’s fate would change for the better. He is grateful for being chosen to participate in the 1AZAM programme.

Among the assistance that he received is a medium sized boat and fishing nets, a diesel subsidy of RM200 each time he goes to the sea and the opportunity to participate in skills based courses – that include boat building, repairing boat engines, and weave and repair fishing nets.

THERE IS NO REASON TO FEAR NOW

“Now if I go out to the sea, my wife no longer fears over my safety as I’m using a bigger boat. Now, thank god, there are many changes in life for the better”, he said to this writer when met at the fishermen’s enclave of Kampung Bagan Pinang here recently.

The 1AZAM programme is one of the initiative under the National Key Result Areas (NKRA) under the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) to enhance the living standards of Low Income Households (LIH).

There are four programmes offered under 1AZAM namely Azam Kerja (Employment), conducted by the Human Resource Ministry; Azam Tani (Agriculture), conducted by Agriculture and Agro-based Industries Ministry; Azam Khidmat (Services), conducted by Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development (KPWKM) and Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia (AIM); and the Azam Niaga conducted by KPWKM, AIM and the Ministry of Urban Well-being, Housing and Local Government.

Apart from providing boats and fishing gear, Saiful also received assistance from the Malaysian Fisheries Development Board (LKIM) that provided a place for him to sell his catch. By this way he could maintain the prices of his catch and earn bigger profit.

SUCCESSFUL TRANSFORMATION

As his earnings improved, Saiful no longer has difficulties in sending his children to school and he even had bought them bicycles for them to get to school.

As for an Azam Tani participant, Siti Durah Alias, 41, the 1AZAM programme conducts many skill and business based courses that has been helpful and has piqued her interest in business. She has seen some success in her food venture and now earns more than what she used to get working as a helper at an eatery.

“Yes, from long ago I was hoping someone will lend a helping hand. I never expected 1AZAM will help me by providing me the things needed to do business. After registering with eKasih three years ago, they told to me that I was chosen for the 1AZAM programme”, she said.

The eKasih is a national database of households living in poverty and is used by the government to address hardcore poverty especially.

“When I meet up with women facing difficulties or single mothers, I will inform them of these programme and that the 1AZAM could help those in similar predicament like me to stand up on their own.

THERE IS HOPE FOR FARMERS TOO

Meanwhile, the Director of the Malaysian Pineapple Industry Board’s (LPNM) branch in Negeri Sembilan, Mohd Nazaiful Azdi Abdul Rahman, noted that the agency has allocated about RM4 million between 2012 and 2014 to coordinate assistance under the Azam Tani programme in the state.

“This year, we have been given an allocation of RM1 million and are now identifying the potential participants for the projects that can be carried out under Azam Tani”, he said.

He said the names of the successful participants, those who have improved their earnings and were able to stand on their own, would be de-listed from the eKasih list.

“There are others who have seen improvements in their earnings, but still not good enough to be de-listed from the eKasih register. The income limit that allows them to be delisted from the eKasih register is dependent on the economic structure and the living cost in their locality.

“Normally, suppose their earnings reach more than RM3,000 per month, this may qualify them to be de-listed from the registry. However, if in towns and cities, the RM3,000 is not good enough as they are considered as part of the urban poverty problem”, he explained.

According to him, about 20 per cent of the 201 Azam Tani participants have been removed from the ekasih register in 2012, meaning they have successfully freed themselves from the clutches of poverty.

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