KUALA LUMPUR: Most Malaysians want 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M), now known as Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH), to be widened to include the 40 per cent middle income earners (or M40) and extended into 2019 Budget.
An online survey via Facebook and Twitter by Berita Harian and Harian Metro showed that 89 per cent of readers agreed for BSH to be continued in the national budget that will be tabled on November 2.
The poll, which went online yesterday and was closed after 24 hours, accumulated more than 27,600 responses. Of these, only 11 per cent disagreed.
In addition, proponents of BSH wanted the cash handouts to be extended to the M40 group, incorporating a new and transparent distribution mechanism.
A reader known as Bella Razali said BSH should be continued especially for those who are less fortunate such as senior citizens, the disabled and low income.
Bella said although the amount given may be lower than previously, it can alleviate people’s financial burden in the short term.
Another respondent Rashidah Cheong said the government should extending the aid to fishermen, smallholders, planters, livestock farmers and rubber tappers, especially in times of low harvest.
Fieza Fiesya argued that the government needed to reassess monthly household wages so that the BSH cash handouts went to the deserving groups.
Syamil Khalid opined that the cash assistance would help reduce the income gap between the rich and the poor, despite the small quantum.
"But I believe the cash handout will be reviewed into household coupons so as to avoid misuse, as had happened before," he said.
Another respondent believes the BSH cash handout can be phased out as the government reduced oil prices and toll rates while monitoring prices of household necessities and profiteering.