KUALA LUMPUR: Since the BR1M was introduced in the 2012 Budget, millions of Malaysians from across the nation have benefited in more ways than one.
For most, the financial aid helped them ease their monthly living expenses, while for some the aid came in handy when preparing their children for the new school term.
But for a family in Beluran, Sandakan, the RM500 1Malaysia People's Aid was all the more meaningful as it helped them ease the medical expenses incurred in treating their 21-year-old daughter.
Samor Kulai, 51, said his daughter suffered from Thalassemia and the money was timely as she needed to undergo monthly blood transfusions at the Hospital Duchess of Kent, Sandakan.
"I am so thankful to the government for this aid. This money will greatly help me with my daughter's medical bills," he said after the BR1M 2.0 presentation by Beluran MP Datuk Ronald Kiandee and Labuk state assemblyman, Michael Asang in Beluran, Sabah, yesterday.
BR1M is not vote-buying but actually a very clever way of making sure that indirect subsidies actually reach the needy, unlike before when there was massive abuse of subsidies, say politicians.
The father of seven from Kampung Simpang Entilibon, Telupid, said meeting his daughter's medical expenses every month was very hard and he appreciated this kind gesture by the government.
Another recipient, Boning Samad, 56, from Kampung Rampik, said the money would be spent on his third child's schooling expenses.
"This is a blessing. The money is so useful for a family like ours," he said.
A total RM3 billion has been allocated for the 7.3 million people who had registered so far under BR1M 2.0.
Meanwhile, P. Kamalanathan, who is also the Putera MIC chief and Hulu Selangor MP said unlike what some have claimed, BR1M was not vote buying.
"Last time, we used to give subsidies for household products, but now we are giving the subsidy in the form of cash straight to our target group of people. It is up to them to decide how they are going to use the subsidy," he said.
"Now, with this, the subsidy reaches the people directly. BR1M is not vote buying as alleged by certain quarters, but an effective method of making sure indirect subsidies reach the target groups. This method ensures there are no abuse of subsidies," he said.
Deputy Higher Education Minister Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah said by definition vote buying means handing out cash or kinds during the election period campaign.
"To accuse BR1M as vote buying is over stretching the argument. If we are to follow this kind of argument, then no government would be allowed to give out any form of any financial aid like welfare etc.
"BR1M makes 100 per cent sure the subsidy reaches the people and does not disappear halfway through," he said, adding that this was what the people wanted.