PRIME Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said the government will slowly reduce the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) payouts before eventually stopping them.
He said although it would not be a popular decision among the 7.2 million recipients, his administration’s goal now was to create as many jobs as possible through domestic and foreign investments.
He said only by doing so would Malaysians become more independent and rely less on the government for handouts.
“We will slowly reduce what we can give them (BR1M) and explain to them our objectives.
“I have always talked about crutches... throw away your crutches, walk on your own feet. Then you will become strong and do well.
“If you mollycoddle the people, they become weak,” Dr Mahathir was quoted as saying by The Malaysian Insight.
He was also quoted as blaming former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s administration for “spoiling” the people.
He said the people should stop depending on the government and believing that they were entitled to money without doing any work.
“Najib spoiled the people by making them think that the government will give them money even if they don’t work.
“We cannot give them the money because we are not stealing money... But they (the people) still want the money (BR1M),” he was quoted as saying by the news portal.
He said even fishermen were given RM300 a month when they were not civil servants.
All this, he said, was simply to buy over people with “stolen money”.
BR1M was introduced in 2012 and the amounts were increased yearly until this year, when the new government said there would be no increment.
Those with a monthly household income of RM3,000 and below will receive RM1,200 under the scheme, while those earning between RM3,000 and RM4,000 will receive RM900.
Single individuals earning RM2,000 and below will continue to receive RM450.
In total, RM6.8 billion was allocated in this year’s budget for 7.2 million recipients.
Pakatan Harapan had pledged to continue with the payouts in its manifesto for the 14th General Election (GE14).
However, it was later announced that BR1M would be replaced with Bantuan Sara Hidup Malaysia (Cost of Living Aid). There, however, has been no further announcement on the aid.
It was reported that the third stage of the Cost of Living Aid 2018 payout was made before the Hari Raya Aidiladha celebration.
The payout, involving an allocation of RM1.6 billion, was given to 4.1 million recipients.
However, Dr Mahathir said, people still wanted BR1M as they had become dependent on the government.
“That is very bad. Any country where the people think that the government owes them for doing nothing will become bankrupt,” he said in the same interview.
He said a household earning RM4,000 a month would earn RM48,000 a year.
He questioned the meaning of the RM500 (BR1M) to such a household.
“Why do you give them RM500? Because you want to be popular. And strangely enough people accept this.
“But I know in Ipoh, there are people who refused to accept BR1M.”