I don't mind having BR1M as a one-off political gimmick; I can just about tolerate BR1M 2.0; but I can't stand BR1M every year.
Yes, you guess it right that I consider myself ineligible for BR1M in one way or other. But looking at how others deceived about their incomes and got away with it, then I can only say, 'Enough is enough'.
It seems Najib is all out to bribe voters of this coming GE13. It was a trial and error in having BR1M (too early because of the delay in announcing GE); then BR1M 2.0 (encouraged by the response from the recipients); and now BR1M yearly. Instead of checking all applicants to ensure they are eligible, as it turned out, to some, only 'Those who dare, get it!' Therefore, all those who are ineligible and are honest, stand to lose out in this proposed never ending handout.
Till now, there are those pensioners who think pensions are not considered income for this purpose. But if one were to look at a tax return, pension is one of the incomes. If my opinion is right then by cross-checking with pensions department, a couple's pensions can easily be confirmed whether they exceed the limit of a household.
Where the household income is below the limit in one year, the automatic payment in the following year does not take into account any increase in incomes.
Though the idea might be good in helping deserving cases, the poor enforcement of rules means undeserving people get them too. Already there was a case reported of someone complaining about his voucher being cashed by someone who claimed to have his authority to do so. I even have doubts about the overall checks and balance to ensure the total amount paid is the sum of all amounts received by individuals. There are far too many loopholes which could be exploited by those in charge.
There were also funny stories about how people spent the Rm500 upon receipt. Most common would be a simple treat of drinks or meals in a coffee shop. Some husbands gave half to their spouse. Some used the money to buy 4-D numbers. Some treated themselves to an expensive lunch or dinner. Some even spent it in a massage parlour.
There were instances of both husband and wife who applied separately and were both successful. Of course, there was an MCA Dato who applied for the sake of it and donated it, which made a mockery of the policy. There was one successful applicant who kept his letter to show his old friends his address in an exclusive golf resort! It is one thing not to be jealous of others who cheated but another to see the smirk on their face!
Though it is not up to us to moralize on how people spend such a cash gift from the government, isn't it better to use the amount to pay for some utility bills instead?
At the moment, the government through TNB pays for household electricity bill up to Rm20 per month. I find this amount unrealistic because not many household can manage with Rm20 worth of electricity per month. So it is like 'ajak ajak ayam' where the offer is insincere. In this particular example, I think every household should be given Rm20 regardless of the bill total. This way, every household gets it, and the advantage to one with a big bill is only a small percentage of satisfaction but it meets the objective of being fair to all.
Most people would prefer the government help the people in raising their personal incomes rather than be given handouts. But while we are faced with this current craze for handouts, why not pay them by way of subsidizing utility bills? This would definitely meet the 'household' criterion. But of course, this would negate the 'feel good' factor of people actually receiving cash and defeat Najib's objective of bribing voters ahead of the GE.
For those who can still stomach the shameless display of bribing voters...
Najib: BR1M to be given yearly
Update March 24:
If you have longer attention span...
"It was originally estimated that only 3.4m households comprising 53% of total households in Malaysia earned less than the RM3,000 per month threshold for entitlement to the RM500 Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia (BR1M) handout . But ultimately, approximately 4.2 million applications were approved which resulted in RM2.1b being paid instead of the originally anticipated RM1.8b. Under the latest BR1M 2.0, which also includes individuals earning less than RM2000 per month, a total of 6.1m applications have been approved ."