How will the Pakatan Harapan government help the bottom 40 percent of low-income earners (B40) cope with the cost of living if it abolishes the BR1M cash handout, asked Umno vice-president Mohamed Khaled Nordin.
"Was Harapan not vocal about the cost of living?
"So how does it intend to ensure that the B40 group will not be impacted by the cost of living with the abolition of BR1M?" he said in a press statement today.
Khaled said BR1M, which was renamed Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH), had proven to be effective.
"Experts, including academics and industry experts have stated that the purchasing power of low-income earners had improved with the implementation of BR1M, particularly for those who previously could not cope with the rising cost of living.
"In the Malaysian Economic Monitor 2014, a report published by the World Bank, it was also stated that BR1M had reached 90 percent of the target group and succeeded in reducing poverty.
"The Economic Report 2016/2017 published by the Finance Ministry also found that households with incomes under RM3,000 had fallen from 52.7 percent to 24.3 percent in 2009," he added.
Furthermore, he said BR1M had also reduced income inequality with the Gini coefficient declining from 0.441 in 2009 to 0.399 in 2016.
"The success and benefits of the BR1M initiative have been clearly proven and even in Harapan's manifesto, they promised to continue with it," he added.
As such, Khaled questioned Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad's statement that the government planned to eventually phase out the cash handout.
The former Johor menteri besar urged the government to improve on BR1M instead of implementing a complete abolition.