The usage of 1Malaysia Book Voucher (BB1M) to purchase items other than academic books, journals and magazines will be prohibited from Thursday.

According to an Education Ministry statement today, the measure was taken after it received complaints on the misuse of BB1M to buy non-academic goods.

“The ministry has also streamlined guidelines on issuing BB1M effective May 1 in which BB1M is only for the purchase of academic books, journals and magazines.

“The earlier relaxation on BB1M enabling students to use 20 per cent of the voucher value which could not be finished to purchase goods other than books has been withdrawn,” the statement said.

The government introduced BB1M since 2012 to ease the burden of buying academic books and to inculate the reading habit among the people.

Currently, the BB1M scheme has benefitted more than 3.9 million Malaysian pre-university and institutions of higher learning students with an allocation of RM890 million.

However, the ministry received complaints that the misuse of BB1M was getting serious when recipients bought things like scarves, clothes and spectacles while some vendors openly displayed acceptance of the voucher for non-academic goods.

The ministry said it viewed the abuse seriously and would blacklist any book shops found misusing BB1M.

“They will not be allowed to participate in the BB1M programme for three consecutive years if caught abusing it,” it said.

Further information on the amended guidelines can be found in the ministry’s official portal at www.moe.gov.my and enquiries can be forwarded to BB1M secretariat via e-mail bb1m@moe.gov.my.

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