Tuesday, July 2, 2013
THE government is mulling increasing the income eligibility for the 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M) from RM3,000 to RM5,000, said Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan.
If the idea is pushed through, it would mean that families earning RM5,000 and below would be eligible for the BR1M handout.
He was responding to Langkawi member of parliament Datuk Abu Bakar Taib in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday on whether the government would be willing to increase the BR1M eligibility amount for families.
"We are looking into increasing the income limit to enable more people to be eligible. We are also mulling other considerations for BR1M in the 2014 Budget."
He said the government was considering other proposals regarding the disbursement of BR1M, including dividing the amount between spouses.
Ahmad rubbished suggestions that the increase in the number of BR1M recipients this year was because of the rising poverty rate, as claimed by Sibu member of parliament Oscar Ling.
"I was asked why there was an increase of BR1M recipients from 4.8 million last year to 6.8 million this year. This is because there were an additional two million recipients who are single and earning RM2,000 or less.
"It has nothing to do with the number of hardcore poor," Ahmad said later, adding that the allocation for BR1M 3.0 would be announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak during the tabling of the 2014 Budget.
Ling had earlier suggested it was unusual that there was an increase in the number of BR1M recipients although the number of Malaysians in the low-income bracket had dropped since last year.
The government spent RM2.9 billion on BR1M 2.0 this year.
"The applications for BR1M were vetted by the Inland Revenue Board together with data checks from the National Registration Department and Public Service Department, among others, to ascertain eligibility.
"The distribution of BR1M is also in line with the government's aim to provide more targeted subsidies," said Ahmad.
He said the government would also fulfil its promise of increasing the BR1M allocation from RM250 to RM600 for bachelors and RM500 to RM1,200 for households, but would do it in stages.
"The government helps the people in various ways. One way is through indirect means, such as subsidies and the other is direct initiatives like BR1M."