PETALING JAYA - PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail disagreed with Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad that BR1M is a form of bribery and the handout is deemed illegal.
"The qualified target group deserved to receive the monetary aid from the government. It's not bribery," she said during a press conference at the party's headquarters yesterday.
She was asked to respond to the remarks made by Dr Mahathir, who is also Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia (PPBM) chairman, who claimed that BR1M payment is a form of bribery and as such, the handout is deemed illegal.
She, however, pointed out that while not everyone received the BR1M handout, all Malaysians from various backgrounds, had to pay for the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
"Our criticism is that not everybody gets BR1M, but everyone pays GST," she said.
Johor DAP chairman and Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong, who was also present at the press conference, defended Dr Mahathir, saying that the latter actually meant that BR1M was not a sustainable economic policy to help the lower income group.
He explained that an economic policy committee of the now-defunct Pakatan Rakyat, comprising DAP, PAS and PKR, had in 2011 suggested to come up with a policy to help the bottom 60 per cent of the population by increasing productivity and income, reduce social cause, and eliminate monopolies.
"What he (Dr Mahathir) has pointed out is that BR1M cannot be a sustainable government policy.
"It should be an overall economic package and a more holistic policy.
Amanah communications director Khalid Samad also played down the issue, saying that it is important to educate Malaysians that BR1M was an economic policy presented by Barisan Nasional.
"We want to raise the awareness and educate the people how effective BR1M can be to solve the economic problems faced by the rakyat, this is what Mahathir is trying to explain. We hope that the people will not feel obliged to vote for Barisan if they receive the monetary assistance," he said.