S'wak to set aside RM1.6mil for mobile banking services in rural areas


  • Nation
  • Friday, 08 May 2020

KUCHING: The Sarawak government will allocate RM1.6mil to Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) to operate mobile banking services in rural areas where there are no banks.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the initiative would make it easier for rural folks to receive cash aid provided by the state and federal governments during the movement control order (MCO).

"All the cash aid is channelled through banks. However, people residing in rural areas have difficulty accessing bank services.

"We understand their plight and have initiated a collaboration with Bank Negara, BSN and a few other financial institutions to expand their banking services to rural areas through mobile banking," he told a press conference on Friday (May 8).

Through the allocation, Abang Johari said the state government would help purchase vehicles equipped with automated teller machines and counters for mobile banking.

For a start, he said, the BSN mobile banking service would operate in Pakan, Sarikei, on May 10 and May 11.

"This service will be extended to other rural areas. The bank will come up with a schedule to visit these places," he said.

The mobile banking was one of seven initiatives announced by Abang Johari as part of the state government's third special assistance package to address the people's wellbeing amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Other measures included a one-off cash payment of RM500 to "perahu tambang" operators, registered with Sarawak Rivers Board, one-off cash aid of RM600 to licensed van operators, taxi drivers and school bus operators and a special grant of RM1,500 to licensed tourist and park guides.

In addition, a special incentive of RM200 for six months was extended to the frontliners from Customs Department, local authorities, Fire and Rescue Department and Civil Defence Force.

This incentive was first announced for medical personnel, immigration officers, police, military, Rela and state operations room personnel.

The state government will also provide an additional special grant of RM750 to hawkers and petty traders, registered with local authorities, which will be paid in Sept.

This is on top of the RM1,500 grant announced earlier, to be paid in two tranches in May and July.

Single Sarawakians aged 21 and above earning a monthly income below RM2,000 will also receive a one-off cash payment of RM500.

"The third package involves an injection of RM300mil into Sarawak's economy.

"I hope these measures will be able to lessen the burden of the people and business communities and help them to recover and uplift their livelihoods," Abang Johari said.

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