PEKAN, Feb 25 – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak today shared with the people on the background of the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M), following various allegations by the opposition, including that it is intended to buy votes. Speaking before a crowd of about 2,000 BR1M recipients, he said, the aid was proposed by Bank Negara Malaysia in an effort to enable targeted subsidy to be carried out.
“This (targeted) subsidy is better than one-off subsidy which has many leakages. For example, the possibility of the subsidy recipients selling it at the border. Secondly, the person who should receive the subsidy is relatively getting less compared with others, for example, RON95 petrol, people with big cars get more benefits from those who drive a Proton Saga or Myvi,” he said at the launch of the national-level BR1M at the Sultan Ahmad Shah Convention Hall here today.
Also present were Pahang Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob and Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah. Therefore, Najib, who is also Finance Minister, said for the government, it was time for it to make a policy change that gave huge benefits to the people through the distribution of BR1M. He said BR1M was implemented in 2012 with aid of RM500 each for nearly 4.1 million recipients before the amount was increased to RM1,000 in 2016 and RM1,200 in 2017.
“Our promise (made) five years ago in the Barisan Nasional (BN) manifesto, we will increase BR1M to RM1,200 and within that period, the promise was fulfilled. We will not make a promise if we think we cannot keep it. I’ll not issue a statement that a certain manifesto has to be reviewed … some people make a statement, not to fulfill (the promises), (but) to review 60% of the manifesto. What’s the use of a manifesto where the promises cannot be fulfilled,” he said.
He said until today, the BN government had fulfilled 97.6% of promises in the last general election’s manifesto. Najib said BR1M, over which questions were raised by social media users whenever he uploaded his status on his Facebook and Twitter accounts, also helped to stimulate the country’s economy.
“Whenever we get BR1M, we use it to buy essential items like rice, sugar, milk and school uniform … this stimulates the domestic economy,” he said. The prime minister also hit out at quarters who, he said, were only good at criticising BR1M, but did not give any suggestions on a better way to distribute the subsidy.
He said he was willing to consider any suggestions for implementation for the good of the people and the country. “To say it (BR1M) is dedak (animal feed) or cash is king, it is nonsense because during his time it was not done. We are a government that is concerned about the people’s welfare,” he said.
Distribution of the 2018 BR1M, involving an allocation of RM6.3 billion to about seven million recipients nationwide, will be carried out in three phases. The first payment will be disbursed beginning tomorrow, while the second and third in June and August, respectively. — Bernama