KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 16 (Bernama) — There was a time when the needy section of the community had nothing much to look forward for and nobody said anything but now they are being handed out so many goodies and surprisingly there are some who are saying this is not right!
The goodies started with the RM100 cash handout for each school student paid out last November, book voucher worth RM200 for form six students and undergraduates and the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) where households earning RM3,000 and less are entitled for a payment of RM500 starting January.
The BR1M in particular caught the national attention as it involves a RM2.6 billion allocation and is expected to benefit 5.2 million households, about 80 per cent of the total households in the country.
People have been lining up in long queues all over the country to apply for the one off payment and when they collected the cash vouchers beginning Sunday (Jan 15).
Nonetheless, there are some who swear that the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) is a ploy to garner votes and the government’s unprecedented gesture is a clear indication that the 13th General Election is just around the corner.
UKM’s Abdul Ghapa Harun noted that the government’s gesture should be viewed objectively taking cognizance of the government’s responsibility over the people’s welfare.
JUSTIFIED OR NOT?
The question that begs an answer is whether the goodies are politically motivated and for me; “Yes the assistance may be politically motivated but that is secondary because the goodies will help people manage with the rising cost of living now.
“Though the RM500 is not a big sum, it is a great relief for the medium and low income earners,” he told Bernama during an interview recently.
The senior lecturer at UKM’s Social Science and Humanities Faculty observed that the rising cost of living is not peculiar to Malaysia alone but also in many parts of the world due to factors like climate change that affected food output, the rising cost of fossil fuel and uncertainties in the global economic front.
However, in the case of Malaysia the rising cost of living is also inevitable as Malaysia makes the transition from a medium income economy to a high income economy by 2020.
Abdul Ghapa pointed out this is something Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has taken into account in his political and economic transformation programmes and thus the goodies are meant to help the people ride through the transition phase.
This is in fact a calculated move by Najib who is well aware on the need for a mechanism to distribute the wealth generated by economic growth to overcome income disparity during the country’s transition process and BR1M is one of them.
Moreover, for Najib, the success of his political and economic transformation hinges on the support from the masses and therefore the government has to find ways to win the people’s heart.
FATHER AND SON: THE PARALLELS
Najib’s approach draws parallel with many of the efforts taken by his late father, Tun Abdul Razak, in the 1960s and early 1970s when inflation was choking the country.
Abdul Ghapa noted that like Najib, Tun Razak too had embarked on long term economic transformation programme and to negate the shortcomings in between he introduced some short term remedies.
“The Menu Rakyat 1Malaysia (MR1M) officiated by Najib draws parallel with ‘Restoran Rakyat’ introduced by his father that guaranteed affordable meals for the people.
However, Najib has gone further in providing greater affordability to the masses through 1Malaysia Retail Shop (KR1M), Kedai Ikan Rakyat 1Malaysia (KIR1M) and 1Malaysia Public Housing Project (PR1MA).
THERE IS NO REASON TO POLITICISE BR1M
Abdul Ghapa said no doubt that some irresponsible politicians have used the government’s noble efforts to strengthen their own position by questioning the government’s sincerity, the aid should be looked in the positive light.
“What is important is that they should look into the way the goodies are distributed to ensure they reach their target group and not hijacked by irresponsible parties,” he said.
“It is best that the distribution of the goodies are kept separate from political parties because this could be counter productive to the government’s noble effort.
Regardless of the various brickbats thrown against BR1M, people from the medium and low income group have come out in droves to claim the benefits that clearly indicated that they appreciate the government’s aid.
Abdul Ghapa in concluding his views noted that in essence we have to look back where we started, we chose the government that would help the people and therefore the people rightly deserve the BR1M.
Source : Bernama