KUALA LUMPUR: Politicians should not exploit the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) scheme as it will affect the wellbeing of the people, especially the low-income group.
Second Finance Minister Johari Abdul Ghani said politicians who exploit BR1M not only insult the recipients but also reflect badly on the opposition for opposing the noble efforts of Barisan Nasional (BN).
“The BN government does not favour a particular party when it comes to the welfare of the people. During the question and answer session in the Dewan Rakyat, I told the MP for Lembah Pantai that of 7,280,340 people eligible to receive BR1M, Selangor has the highest number with 1,017,403, compared with other states.
“This proves that the BN government does not discriminate the poor, no matter where they live or who they voted for,” he said in a statement today.
On Sunday, former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad had reportedly said that BR1M was a form of corruption and against the law.
Johari said the provision of financial aid by the government to the low-income group is not a new concept and has been practised in many countries worldwide.
“Financial aid has been recognised by the World Bank and IMF (International Monetary Fund) as one of the major methods of social security for the people.
“Food Aid in the United States and Social Security in the United Kingdom are good examples of government financial aid schemes for the poor, too.”
He added that aid schemes have become part of the social security system for most developed countries.
“The Thai government has also implemented a financial aid scheme to help the poor and stimulate the economy.”
Johari said Mahathir was aware that BR1M was included in Budget 2012 by the government to cushion the impact of the rising cost of living on the people, especially the urban poor.
The original idea came from former governor of Bank Negara Malaysia, Zeti Akhtar Aziz in a briefing on Budget 2012, to help the low-income group.
“Via BR1M, the low-income group benefits with the increase in their disposable income and purchasing power for essential goods.
“BR1M indirectly promotes the use of industrial goods, mostly from Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), by increasing demand in the domestic economy.”
Johari said BR1M should be continued to cushion the impact of the implementation of the GST and the rationalisation of subsidies on the low-income group. -FMT