SHAH ALAM, Sept 4 ― Former Selangor mentri besar Datuk Seri Azmin Ali today chided the previous Barisan Nasional (BN) federal government for failing to improve the livelihood of the country’s bottom 40 per cent wage earners, also known as the B40 group.
The Bukit Antarabangsa assemblyman said BN’s cash handout programme 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) was proof of its failure to empower the B40 group.
“Umno has failed to empower B40 to the point where the government has to fork out RM8 billion annually for BR1M. What have they done to ensure B40 are given the chance to make the leap to become M40?
“They should have ensured that the economy cake is bigger so financial disparity can be reduced significantly,” he said in the 14th Selangor legislative assembly sitting here.
Azmin, who is also economic affairs minister, said it was never a practice in Selangor to provide handouts as the state Pakatan Harapan government believes in guiding the people to be financially independent.
Earlier today, he also alleged that BR1M was given out for the sole purpose of ‘baiting’ voters in the May 9 polls.
This spurred an interjection from BN’s Datuk Mohd Shamsudin Lias, who demanded that Azmin backed his allegation with proof.
The Sungai Burong assemblyman claimed BR1M runs on a system that does not discriminate against non-BN supporters.
Azmin replied: “Regardless, handing out cash is never the solution. That’s why I said the element of bribery is ever present.”
In August, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was reported as saying that Putrajaya will slowly reduce BR1M payouts before weaning Malaysians off it altogether.
Currently, there are over 7.2 million BR1M recipients.