Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian suggested that the government should use the offices of district officers, elected representatives and Tuai Rumah (community headmen) to disperse RM500 to the families in the rural areas earning less than RM3,000.
“This is the most practical way to disperse the money to those families in the rural areas,” said Bian, who is also the Ba’Kelalan assemblyman.
“Calling them to town to fill IRD (Inland Revenue Department) forms is not only not practical, but it is also exerting a financial burden on the rural people.
“Just to take RM500, they may have to spend much more than that. Moreover, all the rural families do not pay income tax and thus do not have any IRD form,” he said when asked to comment on the RM500 which is to be given to families whose combined incomes are less than RM3,000 per month.
“The only way to solve this problem is just distribute the money through their elected representatives or Tuai Rumah as almost all the rural people earn less than RM3,000.
“There is no need to fill the form. Let the money be their Christmas gift,” he said.
The money was part of allocation mentioned in the 2012 budget by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, who is also the Finance Minister.
While welcoming the financial assistance to the poor people, Bian said that the government should know the mechanism how to disperse the money especially with regard the people of Sarawak.
“It is possible that when Najib announced the whole thing, he must have forgotten about conditions in Sarawak.
“I think unconsciously they (federal leaders) always forget Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.
Bian believed that the distribution of the money as far as Sarawak is concerned cannot be done before the general election.
“If you ask them to fill the IRD forms, even after the election, it will not be completed.
“It is possible also that they want to use the money as ‘candies’ for the coming election,” he added.
Out of 2.4 million people, about 70% are living in the rural areas who are mostly Dayaks. Some 50% of them are in the hardcore category.