KUANTAN: Malaysia will distribute a total of RM6.3 billion (US$1.61 billion) to around seven million eligible people as part of a programme to help the country's lower-income community.
Payment of the 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M) will start from Monday (Feb 26) in three stages, announced Finance Minister Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah.
"For example, those who are eligible to receive RM1,200, we will pay RM400 first and the rest will be paid in the second and third phases," he said during an event at the Sultan Ahmad Shah Convention Centre on Sunday.
BR1M was first introduced in 2012 by Prime Minister Najib, with a payment of RM500 for households earning below RM3,000. This has gradually increased throughout the years with a handout of RM1,000 in 2016 and RM1,200 for this year.
On Sunday, Najib said that the Barisan Nasional government has fulfilled 97.6 per cent of its promises made during the last general election's manifesto.
"Our promise (made) five years ago in the Barisan Nasional (BN) manifesto, we will increase BR1M to RM1,200 and within that period, the promise was fulfilled. We will not make a promise if we think we cannot keep it," he said.
“I’ll not issue a statement that a certain manifesto has to be reviewed ... some people make a statement, not to fulfill (the promises), (but) to review 60 per cent of the manifesto. What’s the use of a manifesto where the promises cannot be fulfilled,” Najib added.
He also addressed allegations that the handouts were to make people buy votes for the country's upcoming general election.
"I can assure that BR1M has nothing to do with any (political) parties," he said as reported by the New Straits Times.
"If we want to buy votes, we will only give it to 'puak-puak kita' (our people) but those in opposition-led states also receive BR1M ... In fact opposition led states have the highest number of recipients."