KUALA LUMPUR, 28 Oct: The 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) is still not sufficient to offset the subsidy reduction presented by the Federal Government on 25 October.
Opposition Leader, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said the subsidy cuts of RM7.29 billion far exceed the increase in BR1M payments for 2014.
He said, in conclusion, the difference of the RM.6 billion collected by the government remains funded by recipients of BR1M because of subsidy cuts even though the amount of the aid is increased.
“The amount of BR1M recipients earning less than RM3,000 per month is 4.8 million households, while the figure of the National Department of Statics is at 2.56 million households.
“If the actual number of eligible households is truly lower, is this another form of leakage which would be condoned by Barisan Nasional (BN),” he asked during the debate session in Parliament today.
A total of RM7.29 billion in subsidies will be reduced in 2014, making the real amount RM39,408 billion compared to 2013, which was RM46,498 billion, and the addition of BR1M is estimated to increase to RM1,7 billion.
Anwar also questioned to actions of the federal government which has yet to fulfill its promise in relation to the BR1M in the 13th General Election.
“The government promised that the BR1M for each household would be increased from RM500 to RM1,200, but now, only RM650 is given. This is similar to the BR1M assistance for singles who were promised to be given an increase from RM250 to RM600, and now, only RM300 is given. This is Barisan Nasional’s (BN) ‘promises fulfilled’,” he said.
In the meantime, Anwar described the 2014 budget debate today as ‘talking to the deaf’ because it was not attended by the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who is also the Finance Minister.
“When he (Najib) tabled the budget, I was present. I listened despite my ears hurting. But when it is the budget debate session, he is not present. If the Finance Minister is not there, it is like I am talking to the deaf and this is the democracy practiced by BN,” he said.