BPN draws smiles, some hopefuls rejected

KUALA LUMPUR: Odd job worker Mohammad Faizul Mansor really needs the Bantuan Prihatin Nasional (BPN) cash aid after losing his income following the movement control order (MCO) on March 18.

He understood why the MCO had to be carried out, but it also meant no one in his village in Sri Gombak would be needing his services.

“I did odd jobs around the village, like cutting the grass.

“So when the MCO came into place, I could not work.

“I’m glad the government is giving this out, as it helps lighten a bit of the financial burden for people like me,” said the 27-year-old.

Faizul was one of the many Malaysians lining up at the Brickfields branch of Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) yesterday, to either collect their BPN payments or check if they qualified for the aid.

The queue formed way before the bank opened at 10am, spilling onto the pavement and surrounding the shop lot where the bank was.

The BPN cash aid, meant to benefit individuals from the B40 and M40 (low and middle-income) groups respectively, was among initiatives unveiled under the government’s Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package following the MCO’s implementation.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz recently said 8.3 million households and unmarried people are expected to benefit from the one-off cash aid.

Retired civil servant P. Siva, 70, who was also waiting for his turn in the queue, said: “It’s not much but we will take it.

“Certain necessities have gone up in price, so this will be of help.”

While many who qualified for the BPN cash aid left the bank with some relief, there were those who felt helpless and disappointed.

One of them was taxi driver P. Gunasegaran, who was shocked when he found out he did not qualify to receive the BPN payment.

The 56-year-old, teary eyed from the disappointment, said he did not know why he was rejected.

“I am just a taxi driver. During MCO I can’t find any customers, so I have no income,” he said, adding that he had no one else to help as he lived alone.

Single mother Natasha Brand, 43, is another disappointed one.

“I applied for the aid and it showed that I am not eligible.

“I am an unmarried single mum and to my knowledge, unmarried single mothers cannot apply, as only divorcees or widows can do so,” said the internship manager.

She said her pay was also cut as she was asked to work fewer days than usual during the MCO.

Brand, who has a 20-year-old daughter, said she is also taking care of her aged parents who were no longer working.

She added that the government should look into the welfare of every Malaysian during the MCO.

“The Prime Minister (Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin) has said that no one will be left behind, so I hope the government will look into this,” she said.
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