Don’t insult our intelligence, Sarawak minister tells Chong over BSH sabotage claim

Abdul Karim Hamzah (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: A Sarawak state minister has chided a federal deputy minister for accusing district officers in the state of not cooperating with the government to roll out the cash disbursement programme Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH).

Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah, the state minister in charge of tourism, arts, culture, youth and sports, described Deputy Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Chong Chieng Jen’s claim as silly, saying it would be self-defeating for the state agencies to sabotage the federal programme.

He said Chong also got his facts wrong when he said district offices in Bau, Serian and Simanggang refused to register BSH recipients.

“Does this deputy minister know that registration for BSH is done through the Inland Revenue Board and not district office?” Karim said.

“It’s not the business of the state government to stop free monetary handouts knowing fully well the backlash it will get if it does just that,” he said, adding that Chong was ignoring the fact that the recipients were also educated.

“They would curse the state government if they know we are blocking them from receiving the monetary handout which they are entitled to.

“Chong must be out of his mind in making this allegation,” he added.

Chong had said the lack of cooperation in registering recipients was due to instructions from the state government.

“It is either that or they’re just too lazy to do so,” he said after chairing the Sarawak Pakatan Harapan meeting yesterday.

Karim said Chong was trying to divert attention from Putrajaya’s decision to reduce the payout for youths to RM100.

“Do not think Sarawakians are so naive and stupid so as to swallow whatever he alleged. They know that the district office is not the place to register as a BSH recipient. It is LHDN,” he added.