PETALE JAYA: Former Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Abdul Razak has accused his successor Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad of defending the rich only after the decision of the latter to reduce the 1 Malaysia People & # 39; s Aid (BR1M) and eventually abolish it .
Najib said that the money returned to the B40 group was intended to be spent, especially in the rural areas, and that this effort reduced the income and welfare gap between rich and poor.
He said it was at this critical time, when the country's economy did not perform well, that the poor needed the most help and should not be further punished.
"What is wrong with us to take money from the rich and from those who avoid tax and give them to the poor?
"It seems that the Pakatan Harapan (PH) government only gives priority to the rich, dark economy and companies that avoid tax, instead of increasing income and helping the poor.
"I'm worried that the income gap between the two groups, which has improved when I was Prime Minister, will rise to a level similar to that of Mahathir's first term as Prime Minister," he said today in the statement.
Najib responded to Mahathir's comments in an interview with The Malaysian insight that the government intends to slowly reduce BR1M disbursements before it is completely terminated.
Najib said he regretted Mahathir's statement and silenced the prime minister for continuing to label BR1M aid as stolen money to "buy" the rakyat.
He added that the monetary aid was never intended for political purposes and that the criteria for BR1M were based solely on the monthly income of a household, regardless of which political party they support.
"The money used to pay BR1M is not stolen money, but through the rationalization of subsidies and collection of goods and services tax (GST).
"The money we collected was returned to the B40 group as BR1M, which is also constantly increasing due to the improved GST collection, thanks to our improved economy earlier," he added.