Selangor has the highest number of recipients, while 84% of households in Kelantan received the aid under the one-off government programme.
KUALA LUMPUR: Pakatan Rakyat-held states Selangor and Kelantan have the highest number of households which were allocated aid under the federal government’s Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M).
Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak revealed this during the question and answer session in Parliament today.
The one-off programme was meant for households earning below RM3,000 to ease the burden of the people.
Selangor households, he said, had the largest number BR1M recipients, taking up 13% of the national allocation while in Kelantan, 84% of the households in the PAS-led state received the aid.
“This shows that the government is unbiased towards race, religion and political leanings,” Najib said to cheers and thumping of the tables by Barisan Nasional MPs.
Najib was responding to Tiong King Sing (Bintulu-Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party), who asked the premier about the number of applications approved under BR1M and the actions taken to ensure the smooth implementation of the programme.
Najib said that the programme was implemented in three stages – registration (which lasted from Dec 10 to Feb 10 this year), verification, and distribution (which began on Jan 15).
As of March 1, he added, there were 4.78 million applications for the RM500 aid, of which 3.74 million were approved.
According to Najib, 20% of the applications were rejected for incomplete information, among other reasons.
“In total, 59% of households nationwide or 3.8 million households were given the aid. The government spent a total of RM1.92 billion on the programme,” he said.
Najib also did not rule out the possibility of continuing the programme in future, saying that it would depend on the government’s income.
He also mentioned that a post-mortem on the distribution process would be conducted in order to address the shortcomings.
Bung Mokthar Radin (Kinabatangan-Umno) asked for an extension of the programme, saying that many in Sabah and Sarawak did not meet the criteria and had their applications rejected.
“This extended period would allow them to appeal,” he said.
To this, Najib said that the government was not so strict with the deadline, adding that he did not see a problem for an extension.
Meanwhile, Azan Ismail (Indera Mahkota-PKR) asked where did the government obtain the additional funds for the programme as only RM1.8 billion was allocated in the budget approved last year.
“In the budget, it is stated that RM1.8 billion would be allocated for the programme. But now Najib announced that RM1.92 billion was spent. Where did the government get the extra funding from?”
“What’s worse, he is now saying that the deadline may be extended,” he told reporters at the Parliament lobby,
He said that no applications were made for a supplementary budget to meet the additional expenses.
“We are not against the programme to assist the poor but one can’t use public funds lackadaisically,” he added.
He said that a full audit on the programme needed to be carried out detailing clearly the gender, the allocations made according to states and the specific income level of the recipients.