PKR Youth chief : 'decision to abolish BR1M must be discussed among Pakatan Harapan partners, cabinet'

Suzanna Pillay

KUALA LUMPUR: Any decision on ending the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) must have the consensus of Pakatan Harapan (PH) partners and the Cabinet, PKR Youth chief Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad said. He said this was especially so as the PH manifesto had clearly spelled out that BR1M would be retained for the B40 group, comprising those in the lowest income bracket in the country. The PKR lawmaker said any decision on the matter should not be done hastily as it could lead to those who need help ending up in an even worse situation. “Any reform should only be done with the consensus of all Pakatan Harapan parties and the Cabinet. This is especially since the promise to retain BR1M is clearly spelled out in our manifesto. “We must also ensure any change does not make the current recipients ending up in a worse off situation. “There must be a plan in place to help recipients who are simply not able to work, whether due to age or disability,” he said in a statement. Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad was yesterday quoted as saying that BR1M would be gradually phased out as it had made the people too dependent on the government. He was reported to have said that people also needed to stop believing they are entitled to money without doing work. Today, Minister of Economic Affairs Datuk Seri Azmin Ali said BR1M would be stopped because it had “elements of corruption.” Nik Nazmi said public reliance on cash aid from the government was a reflection of former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak government’s failure to elevate peoples’ standard of living. The Setiawangsa member of parliament said it was best the BR1M initiative was reformed, and warned that cancelling out a welfare programme without a substitute in place will only cause a backlash. “These plans must be transparently formulated and clearly communicated to the public to avoid creating anxiety or misconceptions,” he said. Meanwhile, the issue also attracted response from former Umno Youth chief Khairy Jamaluddin - who posted a series of tweets condemning the government’s plans to abolish BR1M. Describing Azmin’s excuse for abolishing the payout as dangkal (shallow), Khairy said: “If the payment of cash is corruption, then stop paying ‘bonuses’ and ‘duit raya’ to civil servants. Be consistent.” The Rembau member of parliament said cash transfer was also a policy adopted by many other countries as it helps immensely with the cost of living of the B40 low-income earners.

PKR Youth chief Nik Nazmi Nik Ahmad. - NSTP FILE PIC

© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd