The 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) is not illegal, neither is it corruption or against the law, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Abdul Rahman Dahlan.
He said direct cash transfer programs, such as BR1M, were common in dozens of countries around the world.
“It is very disappointing that Pribumi chairman Mahathir Mohamad continues to insist that BR1M is corruption.
This time, Mahathir went further and claimed that BR1M is against the law,”he said in a statement.
Apart from BR1M, Mahathir also attacked the national minimum wage policy, he said, adding that it was an insult to the millions of Malaysians who had benefited from the policies every year.
“Pribumi’s Muhyiddin Yassin and deputy president Mukhriz Mahathir were ardent supporters of BR1M before. Is Dr Mahathiraccusing them (Muhyiddin and Mukhriz) of being corrupt as well?.
“Despite persistent irrational attacks on government policies, the government will continue to pursue policies and strategies such as BR1M, the minimum wage and other policies, including a strong, but fair Bumiputera policies,” he added.
Rahman said the policies implemented by the government would continue to drive Malaysia’s growth, as well as ensure that no Malaysian would be left behind.
As such, Barisan Nasional (BN) makes no apologies in targeting to have a fairer and more robust Malaysia, he added.
Rahman said BR1M is a policy measure, among others, to help in redistributing taxes received from the higher income groups to the bottom 40 percent income households.
He said it is a policy designed to transfer the wealth of the nation to the B40 group (low income households).
The minimum wage policy, he said, was to ensure a fair wage for the country’s lowest paid workers and could also be effective in helping to reduce reliance on non-Malaysian work-force ,while at the same time, give dignity of life to the bottom rung workers.
“Policies such as these are part of our National Transformation Program thatwill enable Malaysia to achieve key objectives critical to our country’s well-being,” he added.
He said BR1M and the minimum wage policy had helped the government’s effort to rebalance the economy, as well as boost the growth of the domestic economy.
It also helped to insulate Malaysia against the volatility of the global economy and making our economy more robust, he added.
Abdul Rahman said BR1M had helped the government’s effort to redistribute income and stimulate the rural economies.
“Despite slower global growth and a slump in global commodity prices, Malaysia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth has improved to 4.3 percent in the third quarter. This shows that our efforts are working,” he said.
Rahman said the policies had also helped in improving income equality.
Citing statistics from the Economic Planning Unit (EPU), he said Malaysians median monthly gross household income had grown to RM4,585 in 2014 from RM2,830 in 2009, an increase of RM1,755 or a 62 percent growth within five years.
“This is a much bigger growth compared to the five-year period between 1984 to 1989 during Dr Mahathir’s rule where the median income only grew by RM95 or 13.5 percent.
“For Bumiputera households, the median income grew faster than the national average and registered a 66 percent growth between 2009 to 2014, from RM2,531 to RM4,214 per month,” he said.
Rahman said the increased median income was registered during the first five years of the current Prime Minister Najib Razak’s tenure, compared with the RM96 increase (16.5 percent growth) between 1984 to 1989 under Mahathir’s rule.
“In fact, it even beats the RM1,112 increase in Bumiputra household median income for the whole 18-year period between 1984 to 2002 when Dr Mahathir was in charge,” he added.
He said the success of the government policies since 2009 was also reflected in Malaysia’s Gini coefficient, which measures income equality.
“The lower this coefficient means the lower the income inequality is,” he added. — Bernama