Shocked over the Sikh community's 'hardcore' poor living standard in Malaysia's northern Perak, the state chief minister has decided a plan of action to eradicate poverty among them.
Perak chief minister Zambry Abdul Kadir said he was shocked after listening to Sikh leaders talking about the hardcore poverty in the community.
The state government viewed the issue seriously, he said, adding that he will now include the eradication of hardcore poverty among Sikhs in his administration's action plan.
"Like many others, my worldview of the Sikhs has been that they don't have severe socio-economic problems like other communities," the chief minister told New Straits Times.
The community's hardcore poor numbers around 1,500, constituting about 400 families or 5 per cent of the total 28,000 Sikhs in the state.
According to local Sikh leaders, one in every 20 community members living in the state is a 'hardcore poor'.
Community leaders in Perak, representing seven Sikh non-governmental organisations, met Zambry on Monday and highlighted various problems faced by them, including issues related to single mothers, language and education.
Zambry announced the setting up of a Sikh advisory body to listen to their demands.
"I think the board proposal is good one and ought to be studied and implemented," Zambry told the paper.