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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Defending BR1M, Najib asks if it is wrong to help the poor

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak delivers a speech during a function in Kuala Perlis, Perlis, today. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Hasnoor Hussain, May 30, 2015.Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak delivers a speech during a function in Kuala Perlis, Perlis, today. – The Malaysian Insider pic by Hasnoor Hussain, May 30, 2015.
There is nothing wrong about giving aid to those who need help, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said in defence of the federal government's 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M) programme.
He said it was important that the government did its part to help households increase their income.
He said when the economy in the country was doing well, the nation's wealth should also be distributed to the people.
Najib said the government previously gave aid in the form of physical infrastructure like roads but now with him as prime minister, aid was given for the kitchen, too.
"Kalau pandai belanja BR1M, dapur kita berasap (if we know how to spend BR1M wisely, there will be smoke in our kitchens.)
"Previously, the government helps right up to roads. Now we are giving aid right into kitchens. This is 'pembaharuan' (improvement)," he said.
The BR1M programme introduced by Najib some time before the last general election in 2013, has been severely criticised by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad as a form of "bribery" in order to win votes.
Najib insisted that it was right for the government to give aid to help those in the rural areas.
He said even fishermen were now getting RM300 a month to help them cope with the cost of living.
He said previously there was no allocation for such purpose.
He said for the cities like Kuala Lumpur, the government was building mass rapid transit system and soon a high-speed train that travels at 300km per hour.
Such huge projects, Najib said, will generate economic growth that would in turn allow the government to have funds to channel to rural areas.
"The rural development agenda remains a main agenda for the government... nobody can deny that we have all come a long way although we admit we still have unfinished development agendas for the rural areas.
"We need fairer distribution of wealth to the rural communities and that is why we practise growth with equity. Without growth, we won’t have wealth to distribute," he said.
Najib said he was honoured that it was his father the second prime minister of Malaysia, the late Tun Abdul Razak Hussein, who started the agenda of developing rural areas.
He said his administration would continue to grow the Malaysian economy to fulfil the agendas to improve the people's lives in rural areas.
"I am confident that this is the right policy. When our economy is good, we can channel more funds for rural development," he said.
Najib also announced that the federal government will give Perlis funds for its inland port, the Chuping Valley development, and the logistic hub and hospital in Padang Besar.
He said the government will finalise how much money is needed for the individual projects.

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