Thousands of BR1M recipients claimed aid more than once, federal audit reveals

According to the first Auditor-General (A-G) Report for 2014, thousands of recipients of the 1 Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) cashed their hand-outs more than once. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng
According to the first Auditor-General (A-G) Report for 2014, thousands of recipients of the 1 Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) cashed their hand-outs more than once. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

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KUALA LUMPUR, April 6 — The first Auditor-General (A-G) Report for 2014 released today revealed that thousands of recipients of the 1 Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) cashed their hand-outs more than once, while some even claimed aid up to four times.

The repeated claims cost Putrajaya over RM3 million between 2012 and 2014, starting at 2012 with 2,188 repeat claimants totalling RM1.11 million, 2,490 in 2013 (RM1.14 million), and 1,899 in Phase 1 of 2014 (RM1.09 million).

“From interviews with coordinating officers that directly handled BR1M, it was found that during BR1M voucher distribution ceremonies, banks opened their mobile counters offline. Banks only brought a list of approved applicants, cash and authorisation stamps.

“Payment was made to approved applicants by cross-checking their names to the list, without checking the online database. This move gave the opportunity to BR1M recipients to claim more than once,” the report explained.

As of December 2014, there were still 1,555 repeat claimants for 2012 who had yet to return their claims, 1,850 for 2013, and 1,401 for Phase 1 of 2014.

Across all three years, the most number of repeated claims occurred when the claimants cashed out their aid at Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN), compared to the other three claim centres: Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank), CIMB Bank Bhd, and Public Bank Bhd.

In 2012, there were 41 Malaysians who claimed their BR1M handout thrice, once at each claim centre.

In 2013, 43 people claimed thrice, and an additional 11 people claimed four times, also once at each claim centre.

In 2014, 28 people claimed thrice, while 9 claimed BR1M four times, with a similar tactic.

In reply, the Finance Ministry on April 29, 2014 had blamed manpower shortage for the lack of live updates for the database.

BR1M was first announced in 2012 by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, and starting from 2014 was delivered twice a year.

Putrajaya had announced in Budget 2015 that the BR1M for households with monthly incomes of RM3,000 and below will rise by RM300 to RM950, while households with incomes between RM3,000 and RM4,000 will enjoy handouts of RM750 from RM450 previously.

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