KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 25 — Former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak criticised the government over plans to do away with the rebranded 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M), claiming it will soon be needed more than ever.
Noting that the growth rate of the local economy eased to 4.5 per cent in the previous quarter while unemployment was starting to rise, he said low income groups were dependent on the direct cash handouts started during his time.
“I regret that Tun Dr Mahathir (Mohamad) announced last night that the BR1M will be reduced and eliminated,” he wrote on his Facebook page when rejecting claims that the handouts were made using stolen funds.
The new government has renamed BR1M to the Cost of Living Aid (BSH) along with a general erasure of all things “1 Malaysia”, a brand irretrievably linked to Najib.
Dr Mahathir reportedly said the cash payments will be gradually decreased, but did not give a timeline for this.
Saying there were economists predicting that Malaysia could enter a recession, the former PM added that the poor would be left exposed if the forecast came through.
“Has Pakatan Harapan forgotten that they promised to retain the BR1M in their manifesto?
“Why break your promise now and punish the poor citizens?” he said.