The implementation of the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) is not politically motivated but instead an aid package aimed at helping the lower income manage the rising costs of living, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
The Government said it will dish out RM6.3 billion (US$1.6 billion) to seven million people from Feb 26 as part of BR1M. Malaysians who have been pre-selected will get up to RM1,200 in three tranches this year.
Najib’s retort comes on the back of various allegations by the opposition that it is intended to buy votes.
Najib, who is also Malaysia’s Finance Minister, said in his speech before launching the national-level BR1M on Feb 25: “If we want to buy votes, we will only give it to ‘puak-puak kita’ (our people) but those in opposition-led states also receive BR1M… in fact opposition-led states have the highest number of recipients.”
Treasury secretary-general Tan Sri Dr Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah said that the government is always looking for ways to improve the disbursement of BR1M and to boost the economic status of its recipients, according to Bernama.
The opposition’s claims that the payouts were “candies” distributed by the government ahead of Malaysia’s upcoming general election were defamatory as they had run out of issues.
BR1M payouts were first introduced in 2012, with a payment of RM500 for households earning below RM3,000. The amount was progressively increased over the years with 2017’s payment also amounting to RM1,200.