PETALING JAYA: The government’s move to eliminate household income categories is a crucial step towards fairer distribution of subsidies, say academics.
Nuradli Ridzwan Shah Dali of Universiti Sains Islam Malaysia said Putrajaya must identify those most in need of financial assistance, regardless of their household income category, given that many among the B40 and M40 were affected by rising costs and standard of living.
Citing an individual in the B40 group without any dependents, who earned RM4,800 a month, as compared to a married couple with a monthly income of RM11,000 and many dependents, he said it was “unfair” if financial aid was only given to those in the B40.
Elya Nabila Abdul Bahri of Universiti Malaya said changes were needed in the household income categories to avoid “biased” distribution of aid.
“The categorisation should take into account those who are truly in need based on their disposable income.
“Disposable income is a better measure for government aid to be directed to targeted groups,” she told FMT.
Elya Nabila said any government database for the purposes of channelling aid to the people must be constantly updated to ensure fair subsidy distribution.
On May 19, economy minister Rafizi Ramli said the government will gradually phase out the B40, M40 and T20 categories beginning next year.
He said Putrajaya will transition its socioeconomic policy from the B40-M40-T20 income model to one based on a household’s net disposable income.
Rafizi also said the establishment of a central household socioeconomic database would allow the government to accelerate the development of programmes and initiatives based on a household’s net disposable income.