KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 26 — Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani has accused the Opposition and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad today of insulting the recipients of the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) by attacking the financial aid initiative.
Claiming the initiative is noble, the Finance Minister II said he hopes BR1M will not be exploited by “disgruntled politicians” for their own personal gain.
“To exploit and demean BR1M as being illegal and being a form of bribery is not only insulting to the BR1M recipients themselves but also unwittingly illustrates the blind negativity practised by the Opposition towards any good efforts by the Barisan Nasional government,” he said in a statement today.
Johari added that Putrajaya has also been fair about the BR1M distribution with Selangor having the highest number of recipients despite being governed by federal opposition parties.
“The Barisan Nasional government is neither selective nor vindictive when it comes to the welfare of the rakyat,” he said, using the Malay word for “people”.
Johari was responding to recent accusations made by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who alleged that BR1M was a form of bribe offered by ruling coalition Barisan Nasional.
“As Tun Mahathir may well be aware, the financial assistance to the rakyat in the form of BR1M was originally proposed and included in the 2012 Budget based on the realisation by the Government of the effect of escalating cost of living of the rakyat especially the urban poor.
“The idea was originally mooted by the former Bank Negara Malaysia’s Governor, Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz during a budget briefing for the 2012 Budget,” he explained.
BR1M was raised to RM1,200 for every household earning less than RM3,000 per month under the government’s 2017 federal budget.
The BR1M allocation for 2017 is RM6.8 billion, aimed at seven million households.