Monday, September 15, 2014

Giving Cash Assistance to the Low Income People….

BRIM - the periodic cash assistance given to people earning less than RM2,000 to RM4,00 a month ( a new limit), has received both positive and very negative comments. The amount varies from RM250 per issue for bachelors to RM650 for adults with family earning less than RM4,00 or senior citizen , and given with no string attached. So far government has issued it three times spending about RM14 billion offering relief to 17 million recipients (from memory and subject to correction)

The smiles on the faces of recipients when the money was issued are well documented in many press release. Some said that the money would be used to pay for the school expenses of their children, others to pay the road tax for their cars, yet others to buy a new handphone or a PC. One thing is certain where a purchase is involved. The money won't be enough for anything special and it offers only a one-time spending opportunity or relief from financial burden.
the recipients don't look poor at all

So, to what extends can the money help to alleviate the effect of poverty? And it's not coming every month or even once in three or four months. It comes when the government feels it's good to give the needy a little piece of cake or a lollipop….

What impact such spending on development and promoting the welfare of the low income group is certainly questionable. Of course, to those with a very meagre income a few hundred bucks is a lot of money and a big help. But can you count on it when it comes at unknown time and very infrequently? No wonder the exPM of Malaysia Tun Dr Mahathir says it's a complete waste of money. There certainly are better ways of helping the low income group to meet the high expenses of modern living on a regular and consistent basis.And more importantly, with better results. And certainly this is no way to help achieve the objective of raising the per capita income of Malaysians to US$15,000 by the year 20202 unless the issue that 90% of the income goes to about 10% of the population does not matter to the government, no matter who the 10% comprise of.
a common sight in the richer villages

It's a great feeling to spend a few days in the rural village where one originates from. As I've said often, weekend holidays offer the village a full view and understanding of the progress achieved by this country, in the villages where poverty is supposed to linger on tenaciously. But you see beautifully renovated houses, new ones coming up big and imposing, luxury cars lying around on the green courtyards, sophisticated handphones and I pads being carried around by young and old…..where's the poverty that justifies BRIM? Some young people that I met are just smiling when I mentioned about it, saying that it's just a gift from Pakcik Najib. In two days the money's gone and we will wait for the next give, when government needs our support.
a crowded compound when everyone is back

The real poor and sick that I met are none richer by the gift. The old and bedridden are not even able to apply for the gift. And there's no one to help them get it. Only the able, resourceful and determined secured the gift, although they don't seem deserving at all, or really appreciate it. But doesn't want some extra cash in your pocket.

Today ( September 16 )is Malaysia Day, the day Malaysia was formed. Was there any celebration or ceremony at all in the city, since I've been in the village? I don't see any sign of celebration, no flags flying on cars or on buildings, no excitement among the crowds. Have the people lost their enthusiasm for such celebration? I wonder why?


Al-Manar said...

I can say the gift is a waste and justify it; or a great thing and gives a few examples to justify it. Bring along a doctor into a village and visit a few old folks, giving advice and some pills; that is meaningful. Do that on a regular basis and the appreciation is real and the contribution is undoubtedly admirable.

They can keep on talking and promising like our present Malay politicians, and you and I will just sneer at it all. They do not deserve any better.

norzah said...

Thanks for the response, Pakcik Al-Manar. I thought I've lost all earlier followers of the blog because I write less regularly now due to ill health. But as long as there're reasons to write and gripe about things in this nation, I'll continue to put my thoughts on paper.I'm most heartened to know that our thoughts on the BRIM thing are the same. There're a thousand and one other thing that the government can do instead of increase the dependence of the lower income group on the intermittent government handout. Salam.