A meal for RM2 – Malaysia’s initiative to eradicate poverty, 1 vending machine at a time

The Malaysian Ministry of Economy has launched the country’s latest initiative to eradicate poverty in the country: vending machines.

The People’s Income Initiative project, also known as Inisiatif Pendapatan Rakyat (IPR), will allow entrepreneurs from lower income groups to sell meals for as low as RM2 through vending machines that will be placed in public spaces like schools, hospitals, and LRT stations. 

IPR - Vending machine reveal
Credit – Ministry of Economy

IPR’s ultimate goal is to increase the income of those in the B40 group to at least RM2,000 a month. The government acknowledges that many of those living in hardcore poverty tend to have more than 1 stream of income in order to make ends meet, therefore these vending machines are intended to help them earn more without having to stay on site for extended hours. The Minister of Economy, Rafizi Ramli, claims that sellers can earn up to RM100 a day if all the food in the vending machine sells out.

To ensure that this target is achieved, the government will be covering vending machine and space rental costs for the first 2 years. This allows the entrepreneurs involved to focus on selling high quality food without worrying about additional expenses, and in turn reducing their cost of living. 

On 26 Feb 2023, the first vending machine was launched at the LRT Cempaka station. According to Rafizi, IPR plans on establishing 5,000 vending machines nationwide this year.

IPR - Ministers holding nasi lemak
Credit – Ministry of Economy

Through this initiative, the government hopes that Malaysians involved can attain a new set of skills and gain financial independence. On a larger scale, Rafizi believes that IPR will aid in replacing imported food.

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