Saturday, September 07, 2013

21 million poor Malaysians in need of government financial aid? Poverty line income should be increased to RM3,000 in line with BR1M

It could be said that Malaysia's BN government inadvertently admitted that Malaysian households earning less than RM3,000, and bachelors(possibly living alone) who earn RM2,000 are poor and in need of government financial aid to survive. It follows that this maybe this should now be the new poverty line income, which determines how many Malaysians are poor.

The BR1M (1Malaysia People's Aid) programme has admitted that households earning RM3,000 or less require direct financial assistance. (Say, that a household is made up of an average of 4 persons, that means the number who were assisted in 2013 is 4.8mil X 4 =  19.2 million)

Bachelors earning less than RM2,000 monthly that were assisted was 2 million.

That makes the estimated total number of Malaysians that needed welfare - in the form of government financial aid is about 21 million, and this is shocking.

Malaysia's total population is about 29 million, and the government by its BR1M exercise has admitted that 21/29 (or about 72%) of Malaysians are 'poor' and in need for direct financial aid by the government to survive. 

This means that all the wealth in Malaysia is not being equitably distributed, and the number of Poor is on the rise.

This year[2012], 4.2 million people benefited from the BR1M payment, involving an allocation of RM2.1 billion. - New Straits Times, 1/1/2013, BR1M 2.0 to start next month
THE payment of the 1Malaysia People's Aid 2.0 (BR1M 2.0) will begin in February, Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said yesterday. He said in a statement that BR1M 2.0, involving an allocation of RM3 billion, was expected to benefit 4.3 million households and 2.7 million single unmarried individuals aged 21 and above.- New Straits Times, 1/1/2013, BR1M 2.0 to start next month

The government spent RM2.9 billion for the distribution of the second wave of 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M 2.0) to some 6.8 million recipients at the beginning of this year, Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan said in parliament today.

From the total number of recipients, 4.8 million were those with a household income of less than RM3,000 and two million others were bachelors earning below RM2,000. - New Straits Times, 1/7/2013, Govt spent RM2.9b for BR1M 2.0
And, the government is now planning to increase the amount of aid given to Malaysian poor that require financial assistance in coming years, and this is good. There is also plans to divide the amount given equally between husband and wife..and this also fair.

Ahmad[Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Ahmad Maslan] also said the government would fulfil its promise of increasing the BR1M allocation from RM250 to RM600 for bachelors and RM500 to RM1200 for households, but would do it in stages within five years. "The ministry is also mulling over several other proposals regarding the disbursement of BR1M for households, which includes dividing the amount equally between husband and wife," he added. - New Straits Times, 1/7/2013, Govt spent RM2.9b for BR1M 2.0
Some may say that it is not true that there are so many Malaysian poor in need of financial assistance, but I would disagree for if not, do we want to say that it was purely a 'vote buying exercise' - I think not.

It is good that Malaysian government has at last admitted who really is poor, and in need of immediate financial assistance, and this time the figure is much more reasonable compared to the RM900 minimum wage figure. I say, that we must raise our minimum wage to RM2,000 (or at the very least RM1,500) to be in line with the BR1M figures. The Deputy Finance Minister in Parliament rightly said, ""This has nothing to do with the number of hardcore poor Malaysians,”- but it certainly is reflective of the number of poor in Malaysia. Wonder what is the number of hardcore poor?
BR1M must be made a right - not a discretionary practice. We need a law that guarantees financial assistance for the poor in Malaysia, and the law will provide it, and also provide qualifications for entitlement, methods of application/appeal, means of disbursements, frequency of disbursements, etc 
Giving everyone the same amount also not right. The poorer Malaysians deserve more financial assistance that the less poorer Malaysians - there must be a scale set for the financial aid entitlements.
Dignity - we have consider the dignity of Malaysians as well. The need to apply, the need to go line up and get vouchers in public assemblies(forced to wait for some politician to come and make a speech), the need to then go to banks to cash out vouchers need to change. Monies could be directly banked into bank accounts of these Malaysian poor, or cheques in their name sent to them by post or worse that they go some government department and collect it.
Lump sum payment may also need to be reviewed - maybe it should be staggered quarterly payments, or monthly payments.
Other means to assist Malaysia's poor also need to be considered. Maybe making necessary food items controlled items where the price is set. At least, all Malaysians will then be able to get a staple diet daily. Proposed priced controlled items must be cooking gas, cooking oil, rice, flour, chicken, egg, bread...(some already in the controlled price list but many other basic items like egg, chicken, not there.
Review rates for water and electricity for homes - keep it low. Review 'cukai pintu' for human dwellings. 
Fuel subsidy maybe should be given to individual persons private motor-bikes and cars.
We need to do more to end poverty in Malaysia and ensure a more equitable distribution in income...

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