In the past, I have visited many villages in Malaysia, some of which are comprised families with low income and near primitive lifestyle. One of the villages I remember most, is Kampung Bantal. As its name suggests, people who pass through the village travel a long distance on foot, and before they can continue their journey further, they will “rest” fully in Kampung Bantal. Folks here survive on basic necessities and their low income makes life even harder for them to cope.
As a responsible Prime Minister, I must never allow people like the folks in Kampung Bantal to be left out from the country’s development. The “Cost of Living” NKRA is thus my way of making sure that the Rakyat’s bread and butter issues are taken care of.
Under this NKRA, various measures are introduced to assist the people, particularly the poor and working class in easing their financial burden. From 2010 to 2011, the government spent a total of RM36.7 billion in providing various forms of assistance to the Rakyat, with subsidies given to maintain the price of RON 95 petrol at RM1.90 per litre, cooking gas, sugar, and other necessities.
Also, I’ve announced a one-off financial aid package (or more commonly known as Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia, BR1M) of RM 500 each, for households earning RM3,000 and below. As many as 4.78 million households have benefitted from the aid. The goal is to help the poor and working class, like the hardworking folks in Kampung Bantal who earn below RM800, to cope with increasing cost of living.
For parents with schooling children, I took note of your concern and have distributed RM100 aid per schooling child to mitigate their “back to school” expenses. That’s RM530 million channeled back to the Rakyat. Other innovative measures, such as the Kedai Rakyat 1 Malaysia (KR1M) and 1Malaysia Clinics were also launched under the Cost of Living NKRA.
Hardworking Malaysians should not be punished by the escalating cost of living. Therefore my Government, while working hard to ensure persistent economic growth, will not compromise the interest of the poor and the working class. I will do whatever is best in tackling rising costs and find ways to reduce its effects on the people through the transformation process. Stay with me, and lets work hand in hand to transform the country to a greater height!