BR1M-ing with joy
THE distribution of RM500 in financial assistance to successful applicants under the 1Malaysia People’s Aid (BR1M) programme was met with cheer.
At the Manjung Municipal Council building, 1,000 BR1M recipients from the Lumut and Beruas parliamentary constituencies filled the Dewan Merdeka to the brim in a presentation ceremony recently.
Ng Cheng Moy, 57, said the RM500 would come in handy as her family prepares to usher in the Year of the Dragon.
“My husband and I can’t work because of illnesses, therefore with the RM500, we can look forward to celebrating the upcoming Chinese New Year,” she said.
Fellow recipient G. Sethadevi, 39, said, since her husband R. Sri Ram, a lorry driver, had been hit by a lack of work three months ago, juggling the family’s finances had been an uphill task.
“This RM500 is very timely for my family,” she said, adding that she would use the money for her children’s school needs.
Stroke patient Abdul Ghani Arshad, 65, said he would use the RM500 to get medications.
Earlier in his speech at the ceremony, Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir said BR1M was proof that the Government was going all out to help those from the lower-income group.
Slamming the Opposition for attempting to spread distrust of the Government, Dr Zambry said Opposition leaders had also enjoyed benefits provided by Barisan Nasional.
“When the Government gives aid, we do not ask which political party you are affiliated with,” he said, adding that the Government would continue to give out BR1M assistance until March.
He said the 1,000 people in Manjung were getting the financial aid first as the processing of their applications had been completed.
“I urged the people not to listen to rumours that those who failed to get it today (Jan 15) would not be eligible for the scheme. As long as you reach the minimum requirement, you will be entitled for it,” he said, adding that 5.2 milllion households in the country would benefit from BR1M.
Dr Zambry also refuted claims that the aid was a scheme by the Inland Revenue Board to find out the income of recipients of the money.
In Tapah, some 500 people received their BR1M allocations.
Among them was odd-job worker Wong Yoke Seng. Wong said he could now look forward to a more joyous New Year celebration with the money.
“I don’t have a stable income and the most I earn a month is about RM700, so I’m really thankful for the money, which I can use to cover my Chinese New Year expenditures,” he said.
Wong said he did not want to take money from his children, who were all working adults, as long as he was able to work.
Another Tapah recipient, housewife Sara David, 44, said she would use the money to buy basic cooking necessities and also school supplies for her three children.
“It is good that the government set aside some money for the poor besides focusing on development plans,” she said after receiving the cash from Tapah MP Datuk M. Saravanan.
Saravanan handed over the financial aid to recipients together with Chenderiang assemblyman Datuk Dr Mah Hang Soon and Ayer Kuning assemblyman Datuk Samsudin Abu Hassan.
While many Chinese BR1M recipients will choose to spend the money on Chinese New Year, 79-year-old Choo Foong Lan in Kampar, said she did not have the luxury to do so and she had to use the RM500 to cover daily expenditures and the cost of her medicine.
“I broke my ribs in an accident a decade ago and I have chronic back and abdomen pain every time I walk. To me, Chinese New Year is just like any ordinary day,” she said, adding that she still had to take care of her blind husband.
Choo said she spent about RM200 on medicine and doctor’s consultation fees every month and the allowances from her sons was insufficient.
Apart from Choo, housewife Arunmangai Thagavelu, 27, was among the 500 recipients who were present at the Kampar distribution ceremony.
The mother of four expressed her gratitude to the Government for not neglecting the poor and hoped the government could continue to help them financially.
Arunmangai, who came from Mambang Diawan, said almost half of her husband’s salary was spent on their children.
“My husband only earns about RM1,500 a month working as a lorry driver and it is not enough to raise our four young children,” she said, adding that her oldest son was eight years old and the youngest was just eight months old.
Kampar MP Datuk Lee Chee Leong said the BN government had fulfilled its promises announced in Budget 2012 last year.