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Jakarta Post

Fixing poverty: In numbers we trust?

  • Dian Kuswandini,

    The Jakarta Post,

Jakarta   /   Sat, December 27 2008   /  10:55 am

The truth about poverty in Indonesia spoke for itself when, in September, 21 poor women lost their lives in a stampede trying to get US$2 worth of alms being handed out by a rich family in Pasuruan, East Java. The tragedy occurred just one month after President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono delivered a speech claiming the country had recorded a poverty rate of 15.4 percent, the lowest in 10 years. According to Yudhoyono, the figure represented 34.96 million poor people, or a decrease of 2.21 million from last year. The international NGO Forum on Indonesian Development (INFID) said the tragedy indicated that the number of poor people actually increased following the government's decision in May to raise the price of fuel by 28.7 percent, implement the kerosene-to-gas conversion program and scrap price controls on basic commodities. The government was, however, confident ...