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2155) ARKIB BERITA PPIM – 11/10/2014 MOLE.my – BR1M: A Move In The Right Direction?
21 Oct 2014

The BR1M cash handout is seen more as a short-term solution to assist the lower-income group
The anticipated increase in BR1M or Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia cash handout in Budget 2015 has become a reality with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s announcement that the cash amount would be increased from the current RM650 to RM950.
The increase was certainly welcomed by many but there has also been a long list of questions pertaining to the handout.
How long should the government continue handing out the incentive? Is BR1M an excellent solution for the needy and is it sustainable in the long-run?
The Mole asks politicians, academicians, lawyers and consumer bodies, among others, on their views regarding the government’s ‘targeted subsidy’ initiative.

Below are their opinions:
Former minister and Kuala Kangsar MP Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz:
“I wouldn’t support if the government decides to continuously dish out money like this unless it is targeted at individuals who are really in need. Otherwise, people who get it but are not appreciative will forget about it after a day. The core issues affecting the lower-income group should be looked at and a programme that benefits the needy should be introduced.”

Election Commission chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Yusof:
“BR1M should continue as it is targeted at the lower income group whom I think need support from the government. However, it is useful if they are provided with general guidelines on how to effectively use the money.”

Lawyer, banker and National Cancer Society Malaysia advisor Datuk Zuraidah Atan:
“For me, it’s the issue of sustainability. Can we put aside a huge sum of money every year? Question on whether it is good or otherwise is debatable but I’ve spoken to different strata of people and for some, the handouts are like a bonus to them.”

Writer and “I am Muslim” book author Dina Zaman:
“Maybe the government has their hearts in the right places but to me BR1M is just a short-term solution. I would prefer if the government can work on something to empower the people so that they can learn to manage their money and expenditure.”

Malaysian Trades Union Congress president Mohd Khalid Atan:
“It is a one off payment every year and what people need is the assistance on their daily expenses. I hardly think BR1M offers any help in that department.”
The Federation of Malaysian Consumers Association secretary general Datuk Paul Selva Raj:
 “BR1M does help to lift the burden on people’s shoulder, however it is still inadequate. We need a comprehensive safety net especially to reduce impact of the Government Service Tax (GST) that will be applied next year.”
Women, Family and Community Development deputy minister Datin Chew Mei Fun:
“I believe we need BR1M to assist individuals from lower income group as it is the most immediate and direct form of assistance the government could provide. However, in the long run, there should be a more comprehensive solution.”
Malaysian Red Crescent Society vice-chairman Datuk Dr Bahari Abu Mansor:
“What is really needed now is an impact study to see how effective this approach is. From the study, we will be able to find out the effectiveness of BR1M and decide then on whether to continue with the assistance.”
MCA central committee member Datuk Ti Lian Ker:
“I do not think that BR1M is achieving its purpose and it needs to be reviewed. The amount is not enough to elevate an individual’s cost of living. If anything it will only exhaust the cash bank and instead of handing out money, the government should create more projects that can help the people and indirectly enhance the economy.”
Malaysian Islamic Consumer Association chief activist Datuk Nadzim Johan:
“It is reasonable to give out BR1M but the government must also educate the public that it cannot be continuous in order to avoid over-pampering.”
Education and Higher Learning II deputy minister P.Kamalanathan:
“A lot of low income people appreciate BR1M and have been using the money to pay bills and purchase daily necessities. If the country can afford it, then it is okay to go on with it.”
Universiti Utara Malaysia political analyst Dr Mohd Azizuddin Mohd Sani:
“BR1M is not a long-term solution to assist the needy. What the government must do is to create more jobs or increase the worker’s salary. I personally think BR1M is not a good idea.”
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak political lecturer Dr Jeniri Amir:
“You need to teach people how to fish instead of giving them fish. The cash handouts will certainly not help address poverty. It’s just a short-term benefit, it’s not sustainable.”
Pas information chief Datuk Mahfuz Omar:
“BR1M does not solve problems and it does not portray the government’s efficiency in generating the country’s income. The government must search for other methods to solve problems such as the hike in fuel prices and the increasing cost of living.”
PKR Youth chief Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad:
“BR1M is quite a small handout as opposed to the impact of the GST.”
Lawyer Datuk Mohd Haaziq Pillay:
“The truth is I don’t think it is going to eradicate anyone’s financial problem. The government should spend the money on better things like sending people for courses which can benefit them in the long run. There are also business owners who don’t declare their taxes and still receive BR1M, so I think is it also subject to abuse.”
Bookshop owner Fazrin Hazni:
“Although BR1M is labeled as a waste of national wealth but it actually helps those with low-income. If there is an increment in the amount of BR1M then it is good as it can continue to benefit the low-income group and ease their burden in coping with financial woes.”
Retired army officer Zariffi Azmi:
 “For me the government should not be giving out BR1M in the first place as it does not significantly mitigate the public’s financial problems.
Technical assistant Al-Faizal Khalid:
“I think the amount for BR1M should be increased especially to those living in the urban areas due to the high cost of living and should be given on a monthly basis.”
Public Relations executive officer Afiqah Aisyah:
“BR1M cash assistance will not last long as it is insufficient in coping with the current cost of living. I do not agree with BR1M implementation as it could be used in other sector which can promise a greater and lasting effect.”