KUALA LUMPUR, March 3 — Women, Family and Community Development (KPWKM) Minister Datuk Seri Rina Harun today defended the JKM Cashless Assistance Payment Pilot Project (JKMPay) saying the programme was introduced merely as a pilot project limited to only several states.

While the minister did not directly say there was no need for consultation with the disabled community prior to implementation, she stressed that JKMPay is a programme still under study by the ministry.

“The programme is a pilot project and Penang is not included in this project,” she told the Dewan Rakyat today.

Rina was responding to DAP’s Batu Kawan MP Kasthuriraani Patto during Question Time. The Opposition lawmaker asked why the ministry did not conduct prior engagement with the disabled community before implementing the programme, causing inconvenience to said community.


Kasthuriraani insisted that prior consultation with the disabled people is necessary as JKMPay is a cashless system and not all are able to gain access to this programme.

The DAP MP related an incident where several disabled people had to take a boat from their island home to the city and search for a bank just to apply for aid.

Kasthuriraani and Rina got into a heated exchange with the minister raising her voice in the House as she stressed that JKMPay was still in the testing stage.


“I want to make it clear that from the number of aid recipients who are involved in the JKMPay, it does not include Penang.

“Don’t make accusations. I have said, this is a pilot project, don’t try to politicise everything.

“We want to do this for the wellbeing of the people,” she said.

Rina later listed the states that are involved in the programme. They are: Perlis, Kedah, Melaka, Terengganu, Kelantan and Selangor.

She also stressed that JKMPay sought to prevent the misuse of aid money for its intended recipients.

“We want to help them, because these people, we have understood, that some of them, at times, the cash money will go missing, or some used it to buy something else.

“So to ensure that their wellbeing is being taken care of, at least for clothing, food, water and medicine — their basic needs must at least be taken care of because the aid from the Social Welfare Department does not come in a large amount,” she said.

Rina added that the ministry had engaged with some of the aid recipients to explain why and how they can use JKMPay.

She added that the project was targeted at newly approved recipients and does not involve existing aid recipients.

She reiterated that JKMPay is still in its pilot stage.

“After its implementation for six months [from February 2021 to July 2021) in October [the ministry] conducted a study on the 1,066 who were involved in the project.

“From this, 76 per cent agreed that cashless was easy, 80 per cent said cashless was safer compared to cash, 80 per cent said they were able to manage their expenditure better compared, and 73 per cent were satisfied with the network of shops in their areas,” said Rina.  

She added that JKMPay is still ongoing but that plans to expand the locations have been put on hold until the studies are presented to her ministry.

Several civil organisations representing the disabled community in Malaysia have criticised the programme in recent weeks.

Among them was Malaysia Independent Living Association for Disabled. Its president Sia Siew Chin told Malay Mail on February 27 that the ministry failed to abide by its own guidelines before running JKMPay.

She pointed to the Action Plan for Persons with Disabilities 2016-2022 which states that the disabled community must be consulted before any changes are made to their welfare.