By ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN & DASHVEENJIT KAUR / Pic By ISMAIL CHE RUS
The government received 3.2 million applications for the Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) 2019 cash aid as of March 27 this year.
Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said of the total, about 530,000 applications are new requests, while the remaining 2.67 million are updated cases.
“The number is expected to grow based on the ongoing data entry by the Inland Revenue Board.
“The applications are expected to reach four million for our allocation of RM5 billion,” he told the Dewan Rakyat yesterday.
Lim said this in response to a question from Khairy Jamaluddin (Barisan Nasional-Rembau) on the number of new applications received for BSH and how does the government ensure the eligibility of applicants.
Lim said the government is working to ensure that the aid is being leveraged to the targeted group, instead of privileged ones.
“Generally, households earning below RM4,000 per month are eligible to receive BSH in line with the government’s concern on the rising cost of living among the bottom 40% group,” he added.
In addressing the possible hiccups in the implementation of BSH, Lim said the information received from applicants will be matched with data from the relevant government agencies to determine the eligibility of each applicant.
“We have partnered three additional agencies — namely the Social Welfare Department, Majlis Amanah Rakyat and Social Security Organisation — for this year.
“This brings the total number of government agencies involved to 16 to handle inclusion and exclusion error issues,” he said.
Under the phase one of BSH payout in January this year, the government spent a total of RM1.2 billion for 4.1 million households, while RM300 million was distributed in March for 3.1 million single people.
In 2018, the Pakatan Harapan government spent RM1.6 billion for 4.1 million households.
Meanwhile, on Ahmad Fahmi Mohamed Fadzil’s (Pakatan Harapan-Lembah Pantai) suggestion that the government extend the date of application as many qualified groups could not receive the aid due to incomplete documents, Lim said such a matter is not a problem.
“It only involves documents and can still be updated to make sure that they can accept it (the application),” he added.