On the 19th of February, the Indonesian Minister made an unusual proposal- he said that they should encourage the rich people in their country to marry the poor and vice versa as a means of tackling their high rate of poverty.
The Minister for Coordinating Human Development and Culture, Muhadjir Effendy said that when poor people are looking for other poor people to marry, the number of poor households increases.
He emphasized that this is an ongoing issue in Indonesia and that there are around 5 million poor households in Indonesia or 9.4 percent of the 57.1 million total households, according to data from 2019.
Indonesia is the 4th most populous country in the world with 260 million residents.
3 out of 10 women in Indonesia deliver stunted babies and babies who will be less likely to achieve full physical height and cognitive potential when they grow up.
A lot of these children suffering from stunting come from poor families, claims Minister Effendy.
An Unusual Request to Help Reduce the Rate of Poverty
Minister Effendy suggested to the Minister of Religious Affairs, Fachrul Razi during a conference, to consider issuing a fatwa or a religious ruling from Islamic authorities to provide guidance and order the poor to look for rich people to get married to and vice versa.
Effendy also suggested a pre-marital certification program for the couples that are not economically stable and want to get married- they should sign up for an employment program.
This program has been launched by Joko Widodo, their president.
Indonesia usually has 2.5 million marriages on a yearly basis and 10 percent of them potentially become poor families.
This program offers training to better the skills of these individuals to find work. This program, according to Effendy, may help reduce the poor family rates in the country.
This Isn’t the First Controversial Statement of Minster Effendy
Minister Effendy is 63-years-old and holds a BA in teaching, an MD in public policy, and PhD in social studies. He was the education minister of Indonesia during the period of 2016 and 2019.
This isn’t the first time he makes controversial statements- once, he said to the teachers in Indonesia who feel they’re making little money to not worry as they would go to heaven.
Effendy was praised for his decision to change the public school enrolment to a zoning system that requires from the parents of students to enroll their children in the schools located near to where they live.
Prior to this change, most popular public schools accepted only the high-performing students and this created different classes in public schools with some schools having most students that were under-performing.