Helping hand for those most in need

PETALING JAYA: The People and Economic Strategic Empowerment Programme (Pemerkasa) launched by the government to mitigate challenges wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic will have special provisions for vulnerable groups, including the disabled and those who have lost their jobs.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the government will allocate RM1.2bil to help 2.4 million people from the B40 group as well as Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR) recipients.

This will come in the form of one-off cash assistance of RM500 to those from the B40 group who have lost their income and BPR recipients earning RM1,000 and below.

“Both categories, involving recipients aged between 21 and 60, do not require them to submit applications.

“This means that cross-checking on the loss of income will be done through the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN), Employees Provident Fund and the Social Welfare Organisation (Socso) database, ” he said, adding that the special assistance will be paid starting June.

Muhyiddin said for bankrupt individuals, the Malaysian Insolvency Department (MDI) will work with the banks to facilitate their government assistance payments.

He said flexibility will be provided to allow them to open an account online by submitting an email application to the MDI branch that handled their bankruptcy case.

He added that any form of cash assistance credited into their accounts would not be subjected to monthly instalment deductions.

“The government has also agreed to extend the effective coverage period on protection against the inability to perform contractual obligations, which is due from March 31, to June 30. It will also include those who fail to meet their contractual obligations, ” he said.

Separately, Muhyiddin said the homeless will be taken better care of with Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) establishing Anjung Kelana in Taman Desa Kuala Lumpur as a temporary shelter.

To reduce the cost of living, especially for the urban poor, he said the government will allocate RM100mil for families to buy basic food items using a cashless method.

He said this programme is expected to benefit 300,000 poor households nationwide.

To enhance the mySalam initiative, Muhyiddin said those in the B40 group who were Covid-19 positive and required to be quarantined at home will be eligible to claim RM50 per day for up to 14 days following any loss of income, subject to confirmation from a medical officer.

He added that RM30mil will also be allocated to expand health services under the DBKL MyMedic@Wilayah programme that provides mobile clinic services to Projek Perumahan Rakyat (PPR) and public housing residents.

As for women entrepreneurs, Muhyiddin said the government will allocate RM30mil for an SME and Micro SME e-Commerce Campaign under the Shop Malaysia Online programme to assist them to access online markets.

Additionally, he said Bank Simpanan Nasional will also provide RM50mil under the Pemerkasa-Nita Micro Financing Scheme to encourage women to venture into business.

“An allocation of RM10mil through a 70% matching grant will be provided for women entrepreneurs and self-employed women to subscribe to the Socso Self-Employed Social Security Scheme, ” he said.

To assist Persons With Disabilities (OKU) who have been affected by the pandemic, Muhyiddin said the government will increase the monthly disabled workers’ allowance from RM1,200 to RM1,500.

“An additional RM26mil will be provided, which is expected to benefit almost 5,000 OKU, ” he said, adding that the government will provide a further RM20mil to strengthen entrepreneurship programmes by the disabled and the elderly who come under the purview of the Women, Family and Community Development Ministry.

To empower youth, Muhyiddin said the eBelia programme that promotes cashless transactions among youth will increase the credit amount from RM100 to RM150, which will benefit two million youth, with an allocation of RM300mil.

The programme will be implemented beginning June.

“To encourage the participation of urban youth in entrepreneurial projects, the Pemerkasaan Ekonomi Komuniti Bandar programme will be expanded with an additional allocation of RM10mil, bringing the total allocation for 2021 to RM21mil, ” he added.

Under Pemerkasa, the government will allocate RM2bil to increase the subsidy for BPR households with schoolchildren to buy smartphones.

This will be an increase of RM180 to RM300 for households with schoolchildren for the purchase of smartphones or new devices, the Prime Minister said.

Muhyiddin also said to cushion consumers from the impact of the increase in oil prices, RON95 petrol and diesel retail prices have been fixed at a ceiling of RM2.05 per litre and RM2.15 per litre, respectively.

“At the current prices, the government is presently subsidising almost 30sen per litre. This means that the government has subsidised RM3bil based on current prices, ” he added.

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