Rafidah: Handouts about helping needy, not winning votes

Jerry Choong
Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz says one should differentiate between aid given to win votes, and aid given to assist those in need. — Picture by Ahmad Zamzahuri

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 26 — Former International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz said a comprehensive analysis should be conducted to know exactly how many people really need aid from the government.

In an exclusive interview with Mingguan Malaysia, the former Umno leader-turned-Pakatan Harapan ally said one should differentiate between aid given to win votes, and aid given to assist those in need.

“For me it should be about helping the needy. Hence the analysis will enable us to know who really needs our help,” she said.

Rafidah said for those complaining about the government’s plan to cease various forms of aid, it is important to remember providing aid is a formal system where some will get while others will not.

Similarly she expressed her shock at the former BN government’s “compassion” in providing aid to just about everyone.

“In all my 75 years I have never seen anything like it. Sometimes for taxi drivers, sometimes for oil, for tyres. Even pensioners saw a 200 per cent increase.

“In my view the government should not simply give something to obtain votes. That is not the way, as we are not that kind of nation,” Rafidah said.

She added the country has a fixed amount of allocations set aside for on national development, administrative costs and social aid, which requires a tight and transparent expenditure.

Yesterday, former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak criticised the government over plans to do away with the rebranded 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M), claiming it will soon be needed more than ever.

Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad reportedly said the cash payments will be gradually decreased, but did not give a timeline for this.

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