The much hyped-up Bantuan Rakyat 1Malaysia (BR1M) might just work wonders for the ruling coalition Barisan Nasional.
The recipients of this RM500 handout have been sold to BN’s so-called generosity. If reports from the mainstream media are anything to go by, those who have benefited from the handout are singing praises of BN and its leadership under Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak.
This one-off handout to those earning RM3,000 and below has been cleverly devised to win the rakyat’s hearts and is at best a brainwashing process better known as “Beli Rakyat 1Malaysia” (buying over the people).
Where BR1M is concerned, BN is confident that the RM2.6 billion allocated will do the trick in appeasing the 5.2 million eligible heads of households.
BN politicans who are desperately trying to remain in the good books of Najib are working overtime to instigate the rakyat to continue glorifying the federal government. They keep drumming into the people the myth that only BN can deliver and there is no reason why the rakyat should not vote for it come the 13th general election.
The truth reveals otherwise. The BR1M or 1Malaysia People’s Aid is without a doubt a gimmick deployed by BN to assure it remains a favourite among Malaysians. Abusing the 1Malaysia tagline to suit its agenda, BN has decided to engage in money politics way ahead of the looming 13th general election.
While the BN leaders can continue denying it as hard as they want, the fact remains that 1Malaysia and all things related to it are at best a ploy to hoodwink the people into believing BN cares and deserves to continue lording over this country.
For one, the timing of the BR1M is questionable – with the election around the corner, there is every reason to suspect the shenanigans being played by the BN. And the BR1M forms were given out at no cost and snapped up in no time.
With the hike in prices of goods and cost of living on the rise, the rakyat appreciates any support from the government to reduce their financial burden.
BN, however, is not interested in offloading the monetary woes of those in need of aid; instead, the BR1M is the government’s way of holding the people to ransom, of making them feel indebted to it, which is not what a sincere and compassionate government should resort to.
Yes, any money is better than none but is the stingy RM500 sufficient to work wonders in the lives of the needy rakyat?
Let us not forget that the lay person has to put up with a stifling bureaucracy and never-ending corruption from the public sector. The country’s drop in ranking in the recent international corruption index is proof that corruption is very much alive and kicking in Malaysia.
Prior to wooing the rakyat through BR1M, Najib dangled carrots on several occasions; there is the Klinik 1Malaysia, Kedai Rakyat 1Malaysia (KR1M), Perumahan Rakyat 1Malaysia (PR1M) and Kedai Ikan 1Malaysia, and goods and services offered at subsidised cost.
The latest attraction is the Sara 1Malaysia, an investment scheme managed by Permodalan Nasional Bhd and sister company Amanah Saham Nasional.
It helps those earning RM3,000 and below to invest and allow their money to grow in five years. The objective is to increase disposable income and encourage savings among the lower income group.
The rakyat is thankful for the various aid made available to them by the BN government. The issue here concerns the government’s agenda, which is to “buy” the people’s unconditional loyalty.
The many 1Malaysia schemes being championed by BN are also its way of raising the stakes after opposition pact Pakatan Rakyat introduced initiatives to assist the rakyat.
In Penang, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng took steps to eradicate hardcore poverty and in Selangor, both Pakatan-administered states, efforts like the Mesra Usia Emas, Tawas and Jom Shopping were much welcomed.
Not about to end up as a sore loser, BN wasted no time in trying to emerge as the real champion of the people, struggling so hard to live up to its slogan of “People First, Performance Now”.
The worry here is that unlike Pakatan which funded its schemes through budget surpluses, BN’s massive budget deficits keep increasing and so are the national debts.
Resorting to the Employees Provident Fund and banks as its cash crops is in no way going to help BN win the rakyat’s trust.
It is said that the BR1M payments are being made in time for the general election. This means that BN is hoping the rakyat will remain loyal to it after the RM500 “bribe” it gave them and not bat an eyelid when casting their vote.
Is BN planning anymore handouts to excite the people? Or is it satisified and secure in the knowledge that the rakyat is committed to BN, having enjoyed a variety of cash handouts doled out by it?
Whatever the case, clearly, the various 1Malaysia schemes are all politically motivated and an act of despair.
If the government is sincere in helping the rakyat, it should not blow its own trumpet by using the mainstream media to seek glory.
Maybe BN subscribes to what Napoleon Bonaparte, the French emperor, had said: “The hand that gives is above the hand that takes. Money has no fatherland, financiers are without patriotism and without decency, their sole object is gain.”