Minister suggests ‘the rich’ should marry ‘the poor’ to reduce Indonesia’s poverty rate

Jakarta, Indonesia: On Wednesday (February 19), a minister suggested for the rich to marry the poor in order to reduce the country’s poverty rate.

“What happened if poor people are looking for other poor people (for marriage)? There will be more poor households,” said Muhadjir Effendy, Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister, as per the Jakarta Post.

“This is a problem in Indonesia,” he continued.

Mr Muhadjir revealed that there are about five million poor households in Indonesia which account for 9.4 % of the total households of 57.1 million.

If less poor households are also included, there are 16.8 % or around 15 million households with low income, he continued.

Mr Muhajir suggested to the Religious Affairs Minister Fachrul Razi to order the poor to search for rich marriage partners and vice versa, Jakarta Post reported.

Furthermore, he suggested a pre-martial certification programme to be introduced for couples of low-income who wish to get married. They would need to sign up for an employment initiative launched by President Joko Widodo.

The programme includes training to improve the participants’ skills so they can find work.

Such a programme, Mr Muharjir said, would be a good aid in pushing down the rate of new poor Indonesian families.

As per the Jakarta Post, the World Bank recently reported that 45 % of Indonesia’s population (around 115 million people) are working to achieve economic stability and raise themselves up to the middle class.

However, he pointed out that the country had made gains in reducing poverty rates in the last 15 years, having pushed it down to less than 10 %. Meanwhile, the middle class also grew from 7 % to 20 %.

MUI secretary-general Anwar Abbas believes it epitomised the spirit of people helping each other, according to news site Kumparan.

“There are many poor families and sometimes there are widows left behind by their husbands. They have to raise their children while making a living.

“If there is a rich man who likes her, and she likes him as well, then great,” he said.

He added: “A poor family will be lifted to become rich, and the number of poor people will be reduced.”

The minister’s proposal has two positive sides, Mr Abbas stated.

“(First), poverty will be reduced. Second, if realised, wealth will not just circulate (among the rich).”

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