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?