Datuk Seri Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said today that the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) is not a form of bribery, after the Opposition came under heavy fire from Barisan Nasional (BN) leaders.
Disputing a recent remark by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the PKR president said it is the right of the public to receive the financial aid.
“Actually, no. Whatever is given from the government, should be given to the people. It’s not bribery,” she told a press conference here.
“It’s their right to have and if they are qualified to get this help form the government, I think it should be given.”
Dr Wan Azizah said that while PKR does not object to Putrajaya’s annual cash handout, it is concerned with the sustainability of the initiative.
“Our criticism is that not everybody gets BR1M, but everyone pays GST,” she said.
“That is his opinion but give us a chance to explain,” Dr Wan Azizah added.
Two days ago, local media reported Dr Mahathir claiming that BR1M was a form of corruption, against the law and a crime committed by the Barisan Nasional (BN) government.
Introduced in 2012, the direct cash handout was raised to RM1,200 for every household earning less than RM3,000 per month under the 2017 federal budget.
Putrajaya allocated RM6.8 billion for next year’s BR1M, to be given to seven million households.
Johor DAP chief Liew Chin Tong who was also present at the press conference, however, defended Dr Mahathir’s remarks.
“I think what he has pointed out is that BR1M cannot be an economic policy. Unfortunately the government thinks that BR1M is an economic policy for the ordinary and the poor,” he said.
The Kluang MP also claimed BR1M came about as a response to the then Pakatan Rakyat’s policy in 2011.
“Then, myself, Dr Dzulkefly [Ahmad], Rafizi Ramli and Khalid Samad came together in the policy committee of Pakatan Rakyat which comprised DAP, PAS and PKR. We came to suggest that we should focus on the B60 [Bottom 60] and that it should include three packages.
“The first package is to increase productivity and income, second is to reduce social costs, healthcare costs, transit housing and the third package is to eliminate monopolies. Monopolies of rights, tolls, mobile phone sector.
“That is the logic. The logic is you need a holistic government policy but the government response was simple so they started giving out BR1M,” Liew said.
Source : YISWAREE PALANSAMY @ The Malay Mail Online