Come September 28, our PM Najib will be tabling the 2013 Budget and we shall find another round of BR1M being given out again, this time may be as early as Hari Raya Haji, Deepavali or Christmas. It is clear to every Malaysian by now that the handouts to students and the needy in the form of BR1M were not budgeted in the 2012 Budget but somehow, somewhere the money was disbursed by the Finance Ministry. It is also very clear to every Malaysian that the BR1M drew favorable sentiments towards Najib and has given him strong indications that the program may shore up potentially good votes for him and BN.
The way that BR1M was given out may be questioned by some parties why the clearly deserving were not qualified and others who do not seem to need it are given. Clearly, many deserving cases didn’t manage to apply as well. Politicians may have abused the process of distribution and banks have been caught to have given the BR1M monies to people who are not on the list as well.
However, this brainchild of Najib seems to have gotten some excellent groundswell of approval. After all, who doesn’t want RM500? The distribution earlier in the year drew good feedback from a survey conducted leading Najib to toy with a second round of BR1M during the June timeframe. The Najib Administration apparently spent between RM2B to RM4B on this program.
Government should know who is deserving
It seems that after spending all the money on IT by Income Tax and Socso that we can’t really tell who are deserving to receive help like BR1M but turned around and put the monkey on the backs of poor Malaysians to figure out how they can get the handout.
Combined with JPN, we should know who are Malaysians and who are deserving. The BR1M was using Income Tax to be the source of truth. So why can’t Income Tax Department produce that list to inform deserving Malaysians just to go pick up the handout rather than the cumbersome requirement for Malaysians to go fill in a form (even online), wait to be informed if they are approved and then wait to collect their money?
And those who do not have an Income Tax file will have a different way of assessing their need or are they totally rejected? The really poor doesn’t have the time to fudge around with Governmental processes as they are swamped with problems bringing back food for the table.
Other Programs have been abused
Giving out RM200 to students to buy books and RM520 vouchers to taxi drivers to get 4 tyres have all been abused. The students spent their money in one day. Many students and taxi drivers exchanged their vouchers for cash of a lesser amount. After all, cash is king and they can decide how to spend it as their urgent needs are felt.
Can PM Najib keep giving out money? The answer is an emphatic NO. It is just taking away petrol subsidy money and giving a trifle back to some people after their lives have been squeezed by the inflation caused by reducing petrol subsidy. How do you like the people who hurt your lives to turn around and give out a plaster to some of you to cover up some pain? Shouldn’t the pain not be there in the first place? And the same Government who squeezed our Ringgit massively is now giving pittance of a handout to soften the blow? This is most degrading and stupefying.
Create the environment to fish rather than to give fish
The Malaysian economy has stagnated as felt by the general populace while BNM continues to tout a strong 5% to 6% growth annually. Most Malaysians have seen their disposable income dwindle without a corresponding increase in salaries for the longest time. So how is giving RM500 going to help improve life in the longer run? It is like giving fish but after it is eaten, fish is needed again and the difficulty to fish remains.
Why can’t the BN Government focus on making it easier for Malaysians to fish? Make the cost of living lower or make the Ringgit go a longer way. Removing petrol subsidies without mechanisms to cushion the impact of inflation is too great for any Malaysian to bear. Given the reports alleging Government mismanaging of finances losing to the tune of hundreds of million to billions of Ringgit, the BN Government can balance the impact of subsidy removal easily.
The Better Way
Make Malaysia a place where all Malaysians can work hard to earn more, to make our Ringgit go further and to improve our lives along the way. If all the Government can do is create more hardship only without the corresponding improvement of making it easier for us to fish, Malaysians are the ones to lose while allowing incompetent politicians to run the country without any benefit to us all.
Removal of subsidies must be balanced by removal of financial leakages. Introduction of GST must be balanced by increase in disposable income. Otherwise, Malaysians will end up paying more taxes in the face of an already depleted income and losing it to mismanagement by the Government.
PM Najib can go a long way to show that he knows what he is doing for all Malaysians and not continue this piece meal Santa Claus show for votes. Tax payers are not stupid. Middle Malaysia cannot be robbed to feed the poor while the Government playing Robin Hood also behaves like the Sheriff of Nottingham.
Make Malaysia a better place to work, to live and to grow our future generation. That’s the least the Government of the day must place its focus. And after 4 years since the GE12, we are no closer than we first started with Badawi and then Najib. Which makes Malaysians wonder even more if they should just give Anwar and team a chance or wait for Muhyiddin to usurp Najib’s power.
PM Najib, the ball is in your court to make it happen and fast!