Putrajaya to start cash aid payments in Jan, reuse BR1M records for haste

Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng says the government will distribute the Bantuan Sara Hidup direct cash aid to the Bottom 40th percentile (B40) of households beginning January 28. — Picture by Firdaus Latif
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng says the government will distribute the Bantuan Sara Hidup direct cash aid to the Bottom 40th percentile (B40) of households beginning January 28. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 26 — The Pakatan Harapan government will distribute the RM300 Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) direct cash aid to the Bottom 40th percentile (B40) of households beginning January 28, said Lim Guan Eng.

The finance minister explained that in the initial phase, payments will include those prequalified under the discontinued 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) from the previous Barisan Nasional administration.

The temporary compromise was made to ensure payments could be made according to the prescribed schedule, Lim said when adding that this also enables those who would not strictly qualify under the BSH scheme to enjoy the direct cash aid.

“The government had to use the old database, which most likely contained ineligible beneficiaries, to allow payments to be made immediately before February 2019,” Lim said in a statement today.

“The clean-up process to remove names of ineligible beneficiaries as they are not from the B40 group, requires a long time to be carried out,” Lim added.

The BSH is expected to benefit about 4.1 million households next year.

“This would involve an allocation of RM1.2 billion. Payment would be credited straight into their bank accounts.

“After the database is updated, the remaining BSH payment which would be channelled in the second and third phases, would adopt the new mechanism as announced in the 2019 Budget,” Lim added.

The new criteria and payment method will be announced soon.

In PH’s maiden Budget, various benefits and schemes were introduced for the B40 group such as BSH, the B40 National Health Protection Fund, power subsidies and loan deductions for students, among others.

In April this year, the previous BN administration approved RM6.12 billion in cash aid under the BR1M scheme for seven million Malaysian households.

The Finance Ministry said in May that seven million applications for this year’s BR1M handout had been approved as of March 31.

These seven million-odd households are divided into three categories, including RM1,200 cash aid to 3,705,853, or over 3.7 million households with a monthly income of RM3,000 and below.

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