1. Yesterday Dr. Mahathir Mohamad shocked his supporters in Shah Alam when he confirmed that the opposition coalition will introduce a new tax system to replace the Goods and Service Tax (GST) and also maintain direct cash assistance Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia (BR1M).
2. In December 2016, Dr. Mahathir had issued a statement saying that BR1M is a form of corruption and the government is using BR1M as a form of political bribery to win elections. However, in less than 3 weeks, he has change his stand drastically. This shows that Dr. Mahathir and his advisors have accepted the fact that BR1M is not a form of corruption but a program that is effective in assisting the people of this country.
3. In fact more than 63 countries worldwide provide similar types of cash assistance to their needy citizens This type of assistance has proven to be an effective tool in relieving the financial burden of over seven million Malaysians from the bottom 40 per cent income households (B40). Even in the recent budget announcement, the government has demonstrated their commitment to continue this direct cash assistance program.
4. If Dr. Mahathir were to go to the ground and speak to the people himself, he would have known that the people of this country appreciate the effort taken by the government to assist them. Since BR1M was introduced, billions of ringgit in direct cash assistance have been disbursed by the government to the people for their wellbeing.
5. Time has come for the opposition to make up their mind. Is BR1M a form of corruption or not? In addition, the opposition might also want to decide who will lead them going into the next general election. I have asked this question 6 months ago and will ask it again, who is the opposition prime minister candidate for the next General Election. I am sure until today they do not have the answer to this question.
*Dato Sri S.Vell Paari*
*Malaysian Indian Congress*