Umno man tells Zeti to resign over BR1M

A BR1M recipient shows her voucher. Umno man Mohd Puad Zarkashi says the government is doing away with the BR1M programme because of its ‘mistake’ in abolishing the GST. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Former Umno Supreme Council member Mohd Puad Zarkashi today called on Zeti Akhtar Aziz to resign from her positions in the Council of Eminent Persons and Permodalan Nasional Bhd if the BR1M programme is discontinued.

Mohd Puad Zarkashi.

In a statement, Puad said this was because BR1M had been the brainchild of Bank Negara Malaysia, which was led by Zeti at the time.

“Zeti defended BR1M,” he added. “According to Zeti, BR1M was the result of thorough research into subsidy systems and social nets in several other countries.”

At the time, he said, Malaysia had been on the verge of taking fiscal consolidation measures including subsidy rationalisation.

“BR1M was suggested during a presentation by Bank Negara Malaysia’s board of directors attended by former prime minister Najib Razak in March 2011.

“It was then discussed in National Economic Council meetings in March and August that year. In other words, BR1M was the result of careful consideration.”

Puad said the subsidy mechanism and price control system used by the country at the time had brought about heavy fiscal burdens.

“That was why BR1M was introduced, so that it could reach its intended target group,” he added.

He was responding to Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s statement last weekend that BR1M payouts would be slowly reduced before the programme is brought to an eventual halt.

Najib had criticised the plan, saying it would “punish” the poor and increase the income gap between the rich and poor.

“The rich benefit more from blanket subsidies while the GST collection is more than SST because the rich consume more and pay more,” said Najib, referring to the now-abolished goods and services tax which will be replaced with the sales and services tax next month.

Puad said BR1M was being phased out due to Mahathir’s “ego” and “mistake” in scrapping the GST.

“He wants to destroy Najib’s legacy because BR1M is connected to Najib,” he added. “As a consequence, it is the people who suffer.”