Malaysia GE14

Cash handouts spike as Malaysian election nears

Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Noh Omar handing out cash to parents in a Selangor ward on Feb 2. The photo has caused an online furore.
Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Noh Omar handing out cash to parents in a Selangor ward on Feb 2. The photo has caused an online furore.PHOTO: NOH OMAR/FACEBOOK

Critics slam aid as vote-buying but others say it is public policy

The Malaysian government has been dispensing cash to poorer citizens hit by rising costs but, with the next general election due within months, critics say these payments are a form of vote-buying.

Since last July, the Barisan Nasional (BN) government has dished out more than RM2.5 billion (S$842 million) in cash handouts to millions of Malaysians nationwide - from the destitute, farmers and fishermen to civil servants, religious teachers and village chiefs.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 28, 2018, with the headline 'Cash handouts spike as Malaysian election nears'. Print Edition | Subscribe