Selangor health, welfare, women and family empowerment committee chairperson Siti Mariah Mahmud has defended the state's welfare programme Kasih Ibu Smart Selangor (Kiss), which is said to emulate the federal government's 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M) programme.
"There is nothing wrong with emulating good things," she said in a live-streamed Sinar Harian programme last night.
As Siti Mariah explained, both BR1M and Kiss were programmes created to help those in need, but they are very different in terms of implementation.
"For Kiss, the aid comes in the form of goods form and targets children, while BR1M is a cash handout that is given to adults according to certain conditions. So, it is obvious that Kiss is not the same with BR1M...
"The 19 goods listed under Kiss are to help children in poverty, It is not a bribe, because of our intention to help them.
"Besides that (we impose) very strict conditions to receive Kiss, which state that applicants' children should be below 18 years of age," she said.
Siti Mariah also denied that the state government would be terminating the Kiss initiative or the Peduli Sihat scheme, which enables poor families and individuals to receive subsidised medical treatment.
The Seri Serdang assemblyperson noted, however, that both programmes were stopped temporarily during the 14th general election for fear that Pakatan Harapan would be accused of bribing votes in Selangor.
"But after the polls, these programmes were restarted, and currently (we have received) 35,000 applications... Once (we are able to provide for) 40,000 recipients, the application will stop for this year," she added.
Since Harapan took over the reins of federal power, the BR1M initiative introduced by the previous administration has been renamed Cost of Living Aid.
After Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced that the programme would be phased out, Economic Affairs Minister Mohamed Azmin Ali said that the goverment was in the midst of drafting a new initiative that focuses on the welfare of the people, and not on bribing or deceiving them.