Former Premier Mahathir Mohamad has realised the importance of 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) when he expressed his wish to continue BR1M if the opposition wins the 14th general election (PRU14).
Barisan Nasional Backbenchers’ Club chairman Shahrir Abdul Samad said the Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (Pribumi) chairman’s statement contradicted his previous one in which he described BR1M as a bribe from the government.
“He (Mahathir) is quick to come to his senses. I regard it as a maturity that he can accept BR1M as something good,” he told reporters after handing over Chinese New Year contributions at Dewan Sri Tebrau.
Shahrir was commenting on Mahathir’s speech at the launching of Pribumi at Malawati Stadium, Shah Alam, yesterday, wanting to replace the Goods and Services Tax (GST) but maintaining BR1M if the opposition wins PRU14.
Meanwhile, Umno supreme council member Ismail Sabri Yaakob said Mahathir’s statement on wanting to retain BR1M was nonsense.
The proposal to retain BR1M was seen as not getting the support of the other opposition party leaders.
“He has forgotten that he described BR1M as a bribe. How is that when he says BR1M is a bribe, suddenly he says he wants to do BR1M too.
Only Azmin (Parti Keadilan Rakyat deputy president Azmin Ali) agreed with him, while the others did not,” he told reporters after handing over keys to a People’s Hardcore Housing Project in Taman Sinar Sedili, Kota Tinggi.
Kuala Selangor Member of Parliament Irmohizam Ibrahim said that Mahathir’s U-turn shows that he realised the good brought by BR1M.
“Every leader must have a solid stand because he is a symbol of the people’s trust and the strength of the government system to be set up,” he said in a statement.
Meanwhile MIC Central Working Committee member S.Vell Paari said Mahathir shocked his supporters in Shah Alam, Selangor on Saturday.
“In December last year, Mahathir issued a statement saying that BR1M is a form of corruption and the government is using BR1M as a form of bribery to win elections.
“However, in less than three weeks, he has changed his stand drastically. This shows that Mahathir and his advisors have accepted the fact that BR1M is not a form of corruption but an effective programme in assisting the people.”
“In fact, more than 63 countries provide similar types of cash assistance to their needy citizens.
“BR1M has proven to be effective in relieving the financial burden of over seven million Malaysians from the bottom 40 percent income households (B40), said Vell Paari.
Umno supreme council member Sohaimi Shahadan said Mahathir’s proposal to retain BR1M shows that the Barisan Nasional (BN) government’s programme plays an important agenda in the people’s development.
He said the proposal was proof that the people accepted BR1M and their realisation that it would impact badly on them if they did not implement it too.
“If the opposition admit that BR1M is good for the people, there is no excuse for the people to change the government because what BN implements all these while are for the people.
“As such, in this matter who is blushing. They were saying BR1M is bribery, now they are retaining BR1M. What Mahathir said was true..indeed, the Malays forget easily,” he added.