By A. Sivarajan

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia--This morning, PSM assisted several disabled activists in their protest against the recent Jabatan Kebajikan Masyarakat (JKM) scheme that will see 50 percent of their monthly assistance credited into a prepaid card known as JKMPay Cashless card.

The disabled who are working receive a RM450 assistance allowance, while those not working receive RM350 a month. With this new scheme, they will only receive a cash amount of RM225 (50 percent) into their account and the balance will be credited into a special JKMPay card that would ‘force’ them to only buy goods from JKM Panel shops.

This is utter disrespect for the disabled, robbing them of their independence and free choice to use the allowance as they wish.

“I don’t tell Minister Rina Harun how and where to spend her money! What right she has to force me to only buy goods from JKM panel shops?” asked an activist.

With the mobility challenged, forcing them to buy groceries only from JKM panel shops causes great difficulty for them to look for such shops. JKM should be making their lives easier, not more difficult.

Not all recipients spend their allowance on groceries. The allowance is used to buy medicines, specialised wheelchair cushions and accessories . Some use the allowance to pay rent and utilities. 
Now with this unfair scheme, only half the allowance amount is banked in, and the other half is credited into a prepaid JKMPay card every month. Furthermore they must spend 80 percent of the money in the card in the JKM panel shops every month, otherwise the balance cannot carry over and is forfeited!

This sounds more like a crony project, with shops that belong to their political cronies signed up to be on the panel list.
*A. Sivarajan is Secretary-General of Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)*