The government is considering providing aid to Malaysian households earning between RM4,000 and RM5,000 a month to cushion the impact of rising cost of living and the move to rationalise fuel subsidy.
Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said yesterday the government was studying the needs of these households and ways to help them.
He said households earning more than RM3,000 but less than RM5,000 were also affected by rising prices and the fuel subsidy rationalisation.
“The government wants to identify whether these households can be included in the category of target or vulnerable group to receive government assistance.
“BR1M (1Malaysia People’s Aid) will be given to households earning RM3,000 or less but for households earning between RM4,000 and RM5,000 per month, the government is identifying if they need help and how best to assist them.
“I cannot reveal details at this moment. It is best to wait till the day of the budget tabling.
“The important thing is that the government is now focusing on these households.”
When asked if these households would be given BR1M, Ahmad Husni said the modalities on how the government would help them would be announced in the budget.
He reiterated the matter was still being studied and the government was looking at it from various angles.
The minister pointed out the proposal to assist these households, which was provided in the form of an input during one of the pre-budget discussions, did not suggest that BR1M be extended to them.
“The input we received did not suggest that the assistance be in the form of BR1M. I cannot say presently if the assistance would be in the form of money.
“This is because the government, too, needs certain strategies to safeguard its (financial) position.”
Question: It was reported that the monetary quantum for BR1M 3.0 would be increased in the coming budget. How much will it be increased? Answer: Regarding the new quantum, I cannot reveal at the moment. We have not determined the actual amount but it will be more than RM500. More importantly we are looking at another category where the household income is RM4,000 or RM5,000. How can we help them? This is especially after the recent rationalisation of fuel subsidy and the high cost of living. The government wants to identify whether these households can be included in the category of target or vulnerable group to receive government assistance. In other words, we reduce the subsidy but help them in other forms.
Question: Will those with a household income of RM4,000 or RM5,000 receive BR1M, too? Answer: BR1M is for households with income of RM3,000 and below. For households earning between RM4,000 and RM5,000, the government is identifying if and how best to help them as in what type of modalities we can use to help them. I cannot reveal the details at this moment. We will have to wait until the day of tabling of the budget.
Question: Does that mean those in the RM4,000 or RM5,000 bracket will get higher payouts like BR1M? Answer: I cannot reveal the details now. But, we will look at the various modalities on how we can help them. Whether it will be payouts, I cannot reveal at the moment.
The coming budget, he said would also introduce some measures to help people face the rise in the prices of goods and services.
As for BR1M 3.0, he said the assistance would be continued because of the rising cost of living, as well as the government’s move to rationalise subsidies.
“The new amount to be given as BRIM 3.0 will be announced when the budget is tabled (in the Dewan Rakyat by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak).
“The Finance Ministry has presented the first draft of next year’s budget to the prime minister. So the actual amount (for BR1M 3.0) has not been fixed yet.
“As said before, the amount will be more than RM500.”
Ahmad Husni said the government may pay out BRIM 3.0 in two instalments instead of one lump sum as given out previously.
He said this may be divided into the first half and second half installments, adding this would encourage recipients to be more prudent in their spending.
Source: New Straits Times Online