RM20mil aid to ease burden

PENANG has approved a RM20mil financial package called ‘Financial Package 3.0’ to help Penangites face the new movement control order (MCO).

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the state executive council approved the package, aimed at bringing relief to target groups affected by the re-imposition of the MCO.

“Last year, the state provided a total of RM151mil in financial aid to many affected people, businesses and organisations, ” said Chow in a statement yesterday.

“There are more Malaysians affected by Covid-19 and the state appeals to the people and business community to comply with all standard operating procedures (SOPs) to ensure that we can curtail the rise of cases in the state.”

Chow said according to Penang Health Department statistics until Jan 13, out of an accumulative figure of 5,479 cases, 3,246 (59%) are local citizens while 2,233 (41%) are non-citizens.

“It is clear that the virus is everywhere and anyone, whether Malaysian or foreigner, can be inflicted.

“Therefore, we should not be complacent and take all necessary precautions to protect everyone in the state, ” added Chow.

State local government committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said both Penang Island City Council and Seberang Prai City Council would double their monitoring activities with spot checks.

“We will not tell how the checks are done but frequent spot checks will be conducted to ensure all SOPs are complied with on the island and mainland, ” said Jagdeep at a press conference in Komtar yesterday.

“The entire monitoring process will continue even after the MCO period until the Aug 1 deadline.”

He said more effective monitoring was needed as the pandemic was now in its second year in Malaysia and every effort must be made to return Penang to the green status.

Jagdeep, who is also housing committee chairman, said the Home Ownership Campaign would be extended until the end of the year with various incentives and exclusions for housebuyers.

“The housing sector has been badly hit by the pandemic with increased inflation rates and all efforts will be made to dispose of the unsold units.”

Meanwhile, state tourism and creative economy committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin has proposed an extension of the six-month moratorium in the repayment of Skim Peka 2.0, a loan scheme by the state for local tourism players.

“With the return of the MCO, I propose for successful applicants of the scheme to be given a six-month extension before they begin their repayment early this year.

“According to the agreement, they are due to start making repayments soon, ” said Yeoh in a statement yesterday.

Yeoh added that the tourism industry was badly affected by the implementation of the MCO as well as the inter-state travel ban.

“It will be the right move to give a moratorium until the industry players’ cash flow improves.”

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