Sarawak govt unveils RM1.15bil aid package

KUCHING: Free face masks, cash payouts and discounts on utility bills are among 16 measures in the Sarawak government’s special aid package worth RM1.15bil to mitigate the impact of Covid-19.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the Sarawakku Sayang package was a state-funded initiative on top of the Federal Government’s measures aimed to protect the well-being of Sarawakians, especially frontline personnel, households and the business community.

He said it involved direct expenditure by the state government of RM974.75mil.

“This is further supplemented by deferment of loan repayment, waiver of payments and discount of state government basic services of RM179.79mil for 2020,” Abang Johari said here yesterday.

Under the package, 430,000 Sarawakians from the low-income or B40 group will receive a monthly cash payout of RM250 for six months, a measure that will cost the state government RM645mil.

About 686,850 domestic, commercial and industrial consumers will be given a 5% to 25% discount on their monthly electricity bill from April to September.

More than 560,000 consumers will also be given a 10 to 20% discount on their monthly water bill from April to September.

The cumulative cost of the electricity and water bill discounts amount to RM166.8mil and RM25.26mil respectively, to be borne by the state government.

The state government has also ordered two million face masks at a cost of almost RM3mil to be distributed free to Sarawakians, according to Abang Johari.He also announced special monthly incentives of RM300 for doctors, nurses and other medical personnel statewide, as well as RM200 for immigration, police, military, Rela and state operations room personnel. The incentives will be paid for six months and will cost RM17.35mil.

The state government will also spend RM10mil to acquire personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies for medical frontliners, as well as RM1mil for food.

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