Former prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's criticism of the Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) is "nonsense" as it is widely accepted economic programme, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin says.
Mahathir yesterday repeated his claim that BR1M is "corruption", this time saying it is "illegal".
"This is absolute nonsense. Cash transfers accepted economic programme around the world. And yet people still believe his claptrap.
"And the rejoinder from some misguided Gen Y who wasn't alive during his time will be 'What do you know? You didn't build the twin towers'," Khairy said on Twitter today.
Next year, nuclear families earning less than RM3,000 a month will receive RM1,200 in cash aid while families earning between RM3,000 to RM4,000 will receive RM900.
Qualified unmarried individuals aged above 21 will received RM450.
A total of 7,280,340 applications for BR1M have been approved since its introduction in 2014.
Cash transfers have been used by governments and aid agencies worldwide for poverty alleviation and to spur the economy.
Transparency International said cash transfers are no more probe to corruption compared with other government spending.
The Overseas Development Institute found that cash transfers are more efficient and transformative effects on target groups, compared with other forms of aid.
'BR1M helped M'sian economy'
Mahathir has consistently condemned the BR1M, accusing Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak of adhering to the "cash is king" mantra by buying public support.
In defending BR1M, Najib said it is an economic measure to spur the economy by assisting the lower and middle income earners, and not bribery as claimed.
In a statement later, Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Abdul Rahman Dahlan said Mahathir insulted BR1M recipients.
The minister in charge of the Economic Planning Unit said BR1M is among policies which helped insulate Malaysia from global economic volatility.
"BR1M has helped in our deliberate efforts to redistribute income and stimulate the rural economies. This has boosted our domestic economy.
"Despite slower global growth and a slump in global commodity prices, Malaysia's GDP growth improved to 4.3 percent in the third quarter. This shows that our efforts are working," he said.
He said EPU data showed median gross household income grew 62 percent in the Najib's first five years as PM, from RM4,585 in 2014 from RM2,830 in 2009.
"This is a much bigger growth compared to the 5 years period between 1984 to 1989 during Mahathir's rule where the median income only grew by RM95 or 13.5 percent," he said.