‘Increase quantum of death benefit’

SELANGOR government is being urged to reconsider the quantum of the recently reinstated “wang khairat kematian” or death benefit aid, from RM500 per person to a more reasonable sum of RM1,000.

Several assemblymen said the RM500 announced in the state’s 2021 budget for the death benefit aid was a “small amount” to cover funeral expenses.

Dr Idris Ahmad (PH-Ijok) suggested the state consider raising the amount to RM1,000 to help families cope better during these difficult times.

In reply, the socio-economic development, social welfare and workers empowerment committee chairman V. Ganabatirau said Selangor had been giving out Jom Shopping vouchers to senior citizens amounting to RM27mil annually.

“Our state government empathises with the people. Other than the vouchers, the government has decided to add on the RM500 death benefit aid.

“People must understand that the death benefit aid for 2021 will mean an additional RM7.5mil on top of the total RM27mil we give out in vouchers for people to purchase necessities, ” he said.

Ronnie Liu (PH-Sungai Pelek) said while the people were grateful for the aid given, the state should consider setting aside more money to help the rakyat when crafting the next budget.

Ganabatirau told Liu that the state was compassionate and pointed out that people could access many other forms of welfare aid.

Tony Leong (PH-Pandamaran) asked if the death benefit aid that was announced for Budget 2021 could start this month but Ganabatirau said the aid would only come into effect in January.

Last Friday, during the tabling of the state budget, Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari announced that the aid programme through Skim Mesra Usia Emas, which was terminated in May 2019, would resume with a RM500 payment.

Outside the State Legislative Assembly, Azmizam Zaman Huri (PH-Port Klang) said the people were grateful for the reinstatement of the death benefit but many felt the amount was too low.

“Funeral expenses are steep. A grave plot is at least RM700. Families must spend at least a minimum of RM2,000 for a funeral. The state must consider at least RM1,000 as a death benefit aid, ” he said.

Ganabatirau said the financial aid of RM500 would be able to reduce the people’s burden.

In 2008, Selangor government under then Pakatan Rakyat initiated the death benefit of RM2,500, which was given to the next of kin.

But the aid was discontinued in 2019 and replaced by Skim Mesra Usia Emas where an annual Jom Shopping voucher worth RM100 was given out to senior citizens.

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