PETALING JAYA: Selangor Menteri Besar Azmin Ali has directly contradicted PKR president Wan Azizah in his criticism of the federal 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) programme, calling it a form of bribery.
“BR1M is a form of bribery. It does not empower the people,” Azmin said when met at the Shah Alam police headquarters today.
This is in direct contrast to Wan Azizah, who said it is the right of the public to receive the financial aid.
“It is right that BR1M should be given to the people. It’s not bribery. It is the people’s right to have it.
“If the people are qualified to get any sort of help from the government, then it should be given to them,” she said.
However, Azmin compared Putrajaya’s cash handouts with Selangor’s Hijrah Programme, which gives financial aid to aspiring businessmen.
“We don’t bribe the rakyat via cash disbursements. We empower the rakyat via our ‘Program Hijrah’.
“If they decide to expand their businesses, we provide financial assistance — from RM5,000 to RM50,000, without interest. That’s how we help and empower our people.
“RM600, what can you do? That can be finished in two days. This is political bribery by Putrajaya,” Azmin said.
When reporters pointed out Wan Azizah’s earlier statement, Azmin only said it depended on the “context” of the matter, without explaining what he meant.
“You must see in what context. I don’t think it is fair to put the blame on the president of PKR.
“In this context, it is a form of bribery practised by Putrajaya.”
Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chairman Dr Mahathir Mohamad had on Sunday said BR1M handouts were tantamount to corruption and were therefore illegal and could even be considered a crime.
The BR1M amount ranges from RM450 to RM1,200 for each person.
This is not the first time Azmin and Wan Azizah have contradicted each other.
In May, Wan Azizah denied that PKR had offered to make peace with PAS by inviting the Islamist party to join the Opposition, as previously stated by Azmin.
Wan Azizah said it was merely Azmin’s personal initiative to do so.
Wan Azizah was also not involved in seat negotiations between PKR and DAP for the Sarawak state election. This contradicted a statement by Azmin who had previously said he was given the mandate by Wan Azizah to allow Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian to authorise PKR to contest in DAP’s seats.
Earlier in 2013, Azmin had also launched a thinly-veiled attack on Wan Azizah and the PKR administration for failing to consult Selangor party leaders over who should be the menteri besar.