01 July 2013

Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan (pic) told the Dewan Rakyat today that the increased BR1M payment of RM1,200 will be able to sustain a household for only two months.

This contradicts Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak statement previously that the original BR1M payment of RM500 can last a whole year.

During the BR1M 2.0 payments issued in February, Najib said that RM500, spread over 12 months, will provide RM41.60 per month for household expenses, and that was enough.

"With the BR1M increase to RM1,200, this will help cover household expenses for two months. The people will need to find their own means for the remaining 10 months," Ahmad Maslan said when answering a question in Parliament this morning.

A total of 6.8 million households and unmarried individuals - 88.1 percent of all applications - were beneficiaries of the BR1M 2.0 aid early this year, with up to RM2.9 billion disbursed by the government. This was an increase of RM300 million from the first BR1M last year.

However, Ahmad Maslan failed to give an answer when Sibu MP Oscar Ling Chai Yew questioned the government over the alleged declining poverty rate when there are so many people still needing financial assistance.

"The view that the poverty rate has declined seems to conflict with the BR1M aid being given out. Can the minister please explain this?" Ling said.

Ahmad Maslan replied: "I don't have the statistics for that."

In March, the prime minister stressed that the poverty rate continues to drop from 60 percent in the early years after independence to just 1.7 percent last year.

Pakatan Rakyat has been critical of the Najib administration over what they called "vote buying" with various public expenditure, including BR1M, prior to the general elections on May 5.

Furthermore, as part of its GE13 manifesto, BN also promised to increased the BR1M aid in stages, giving up to RM1,200 for households and RM600 to unmarried individuals. - July 1, 2013.


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