BR1M should stop, Dr M tells Putrajaya

File photo of former Malaysian prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Dr Mahathir said he believed BR1M should be scrapped as it created dependency without instilling gratitude.
File photo of former Malaysian prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. Dr Mahathir said he believed BR1M should be scrapped as it created dependency without instilling gratitude.

PETALING JAYA, Oct 1 — The Najib administration should stop its cash handouts as the programme is causing dependency among its low-income recipients, who have not shown gratitude for such aid, Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today.

When asked about his opinion on the upcoming Budget 2014, the still-influential former prime minister suggested that Putrajaya should stop the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) programme.

“I only disagree with BR1M. But they wanted to give more,” said Dr Mahathir here, referring to the recent announcement that BR1M will be awarded twice per year starting from 2014.

“Whatever we get for free, we will not treasure it. That’s why even with much BR1M given, when the polls came, nobody supported (Barisan Nasional).”

According to the nation’s longest-serving prime minister of 22 years, BR1M has led to a breed of Malaysians who are dependent on the government and lack personal initiative to lift their financial status.

“Better if we train them with some skills, so they can earn by themselves,” he suggested.

On Sunday, Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said the government plans to implement distribution of the BR1M twice yearly from 2014.

He also said the government is looking to implement the best assistance models for households with income between RM4,000 and RM5,000.

He said the increased distribution of the BRIM this time will enable recipients to use it within a specified time and in a more careful manner compared to a one-off hand out.

Last month, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had said it would announce measures to ease the burden on the lower and middle-income group in the 2014 Budget, including the possibility of increasing payments on the BR1M from the present RM500.

The suggestion was announced after the pump price for RON95 petrol and diesel were increased by 20 sen per litre.

When the Najib administration introduced BR1M in 2012, cash aid was handed to households that drew incomes below RM3,000 per month.

The second payout will be made this year under Budget 2013 with an allocation of RM3 billion and is expected to benefit 4.3 million households.

The programme has reportedly helped nearly five million families at a cost of RM2.6 billion last year, increasing Najib’s approval ratings up to 69 per cent.

This was largely due to a surge among lower-income households.

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