Malaysia government's additional cash aid insufficient amid rising living costs, say politicians

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KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian politicians have criticised Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s latest cash aid for the low-income group as insufficient, as costs of living are expected to rise when subsidies are cut next month.  

Democratic Action Party (DAP) chairman Lim Guan Eng described the additional RM630 million (US$143 million) cash aid under the Bantuan Keluarga Malaysia (BKM) scheme as a “band aid” package. 

“This RM630 million financial aid is disappointing not only in its small amount but also not comprehensive to help Malaysians in the M40 (40 per cent middle income group) as well as small and medium scale enterprises,” the opposition politician said in a statement on Thursday (Jun 23). 

“As a comparison, Singapore, with its GDP per capita nearly almost five times more than Malaysia, had announced a S$1.5 billion or RM4.7 billion aid package that is more than seven times larger than Malaysia’s RM630 million aid package,” Mr Lim said. 

BKM is a direct cash aid initiative announced in the 2022 budget, intended to benefit 8.6 million low-income Malaysians who will receive up to RM2,500 this year.

In a live address on Wednesday, Mr Ismail Sabri announced that an additional RM630 million would be distributed together with the second phase of BKM payments for the bottom 40 per cent (B40) income earners.

Four million households, 1.2 million senior citizens and 3.4 million single individuals are set to receive an additional RM100 or RM50 of cash from Jun 27. 

The latest round of cash assistance came as the government cut subsidies for chicken, eggs and bottled cooking oil from Jul 1.

Mr Lim, the Bagan MP who had served as finance minister under the previous Pakatan...

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