$1.1 million lost to BR1M cheats

$1.1 million lost to BR1M cheats

PETALING JAYA - More than 6,000 Malaysians have abused the 1Malaysia People's Aid (BR1M) by making fraudulent claims for the cash aid that cost the Government more than RM3mil (S$1.1 million) between 2012 and 2014.

Some of them had been found to have made up to four overlapping claims during each BR1M payout. More bad news is that 73 per cent or 4,806 of the 6,577 offenders, have yet to return the money.

This wrongful BR1M payout was one of the key highlights of the Auditor-General's Report 2014 Series 1 as it listed weaknesses in the procurement of supplies and services, improper payments, wastage, as well as other weaknesses in managing government assets.

The annual report is released thrice a year, with the first series for 2014 issued at Dewan Rakyat yesterday.

The report listed 313 issues, of which 114 had been resolved. Another 178 issues were categorised "Action Being Taken", while 21 were classified as "No Action Taken".

On the mistakes in BR1M payouts for multiple claims, the report said interviews with officers managing the BR1M scheme found that banks had opened mobile counters to issue payments without establishing links to their own database.

The report added the Finance Ministry, which is in charge of BR1M, had undertaken measures including the introduction of approval letters and switching to crediting payments directly into the recipients' bank accounts to ensure there would be no recurrence of multiple payouts.

For this year's BR1M, the Government has allocated RM3.64bil to seven million recipients consisting of 4.7 million households and 2.3 million individuals.

The Auditor-General's assessment of the management of the BR1M programme as a whole for the past three years was "good", but added that several recurring weaknesses need to be addressed.

In 2012, the report found that 2,147 recipients claimed BR1M twice, while 41 claimed thrice, causing a loss of RM1,114,500.

The following year, the number of multiple claimants rose to 2,490, involving 2,436 who claimed twice, 43 who claimed thrice, and 11 who claimed the aid four times, involving a sum of RM1,135,750.

Last year saw fewer multiple claimants, where 1,899 persons cheated the government, with 1,862 claiming twice, 28 claiming thrice, and nine claiming four times, resulting in an outflow of RM1,088,800.

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