Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH), the national cash transfer program formerly known as BR1M, has undergone many changes since its introduction in 2012. In 2018, it was changed yet again, with a new benefit structure that took into account variations in household size. Its proponents argue that cash transfer programs have beneficial impacts on low-income household–while detractors argue that cash assistance discourages work, and that households should instead be self-reliant. But just how effective are cash transfer programs like BSH compared to other types of assistance? How can BSH be further improved? What is the role of BSH in the future of social welfare in Malaysia?
Calvin Cheng is a Researcher in the Economics, Trade and Regional Integration (ETRI) division. His primary research interests include economic growth and development, trade, and social assistance. Some of Calvin’s recent work has focused on the effects of the US-China trade conflict on the region as well on the policy design of cash transfer programs, including Malaysia’s BSH/BR1M program. He holds a degree in Economics with a focus on Economics and Econometrics from Monash University in Clayton. Prior to joining ISIS Malaysia, Calvin was an economics analyst at a private sector investment firm.
By: Calvin Cheng