Former prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's claim that Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) is corruption, and therefore illegal, is baffling as he had rolled out similar schemes when in office, says Salleh Said Keruak.
He said the now Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Bersatu) chairperson had introduced Wang Ehsan for Terengganu.
Wang Ehsan, a federal disbursement in lieu of oil royalty, was then used by the state to disburse aid, similiar to the BR1M, starting from the year 2000, Salleh said.
PAS held Terengganu from 1999 to 2004.
"After implementing the Wang Ehsan and Terengganu aid programme in 2000, Mahathir now turns round and condemns BR1M.
"Is Mahathir saying that if the opposition comes to power, all aid and welfare programmes are going to be abolished? Mahathir has to make this point very clear," Salleh said in a statement.
He added that if aid programmes are corruption, then zakat and tax reductions could also be deemed the same.
Mahathir has consistently condemned the BR1M, accusing Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak of adhering to the "cash is king" mantra by buying public support.
In defending BR1M, Najib said it is an economic measure to spur the economy by assisting the lower and middle income earners, and not bribery as claimed.
Next year, nuclear families earning less than RM3,000 a month will receive RM1,200 in cash aid while families earning between RM3,000 to RM4,000 will receive RM900.
Qualified unmarried individuals aged above 21 will received RM450.
A total of 7,280,340 applications for BR1M have been approved since its introduction in 2014.- Mkini