SEREMBAN: For the past 20 years, Noriah Othman, 62, has been selling vegetables at a roadside stall in Jalan Sendayan here.
A single mother with four children, she has managed to get by on RM60 each day, using this to feed and clothe her children as well as pay for her utility bills and car instalments, that is, until the movement control order (MCO).
When the MCO was announced, it did not occur to Noriah then that she would have to temporarily close her business, leaving her with no income.
Luckily for her, the RM250bil Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package announced by the Prime Minister on March 27 will help reduce her burden.
Under the package, higher education students will receive a one-off payment of RM200 each to be distributed in May.
“Students at public and private varsities, polytechnics, community colleges and students pursuing matriculations are entitled to this aid, ” said Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin when he announced the stimulus.
Noriah said under the package, she would receive RM1,600 – for households earning RM4,000 and below – while her two children, who earn less than RM2,000 a month each, would get RM800.
“With government assistance, it will help me as I am also running out of savings. The RM800 for my children, who are working in Kuala Lumpur, will be helpful for them to meet the costs of living in the city and pay their rooms, ” she said.
The six-month deferment in car loan repayment, added Noriah, would enable her to save up to a total of RM1,800 for use during emergency.
Redzuan Mansor, who has been selling nasi lemak in Taman Desa Ixora 2, Senawang, for the past 11 years, said it was a challenge for him to cope with his family’s needs during the MCO and was relieved to hear about the package.
“I will be receiving RM1,600 in financial assistance for households with income below RM4,000 and RM600 in cost of living assistance.
“My two sons, aged 23 and 26, will also be getting RM500 and RM800 respectively, ” said the 57-year-old.
Redzuan said he would use the financial assistance to cover their daily expenses as well as save some for use as capital for his nasi lemak business when the MCO is lifted.
In Bukit Mertajam, another trader Ku Mohd Ridzuan Ku Zaki said the car and Mara loan deferments would help him pay the salaries of his workers in his eatery although they did not operate during the first two weeks of the MCO.
The 48-year-old, who runs his prawn noodle and nasi daging business in Sungai Dua here, said his two workers were single mothers who had no other income.
“We are all helping one other get through this situation. We are thankful to the government for not forgetting petty traders and hawkers like us, ” he said.
In Kuching, Sarawak Fishermen Association chairman Jam Hajimi said the special allocation of between RM100,000 and RM200,000 for their associations was a blessing, adding that some fishermen were facing a hard time to support their family as they could not go out to the sea.
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