Sarawak CM unveils RM1.4bil assistance package to ease the burden of the people

SIBU: The state government is rolling out a RM1.4bil assistance package covering 15 measures under Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang 6.0 (BKSS6.0).

Announcing this at a press conference on Friday (May 28) at his office at Wisma Bapa Malaysia, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the financial assistance was aimed at lessening the burden of the people during this difficult time.

Sarawak was placed under movement control order from May 29 to June 11 due to the surge in Covid-19 cases.

Of the 15 measures, nine are cash handouts while the remaining six are discount incentives.

"Based on the increasing trend of daily Covid-19 cases in Sarawak, the government has decided to take stricter and more stringent measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the community and prevent the sudden spread of cases," he said.

Abang Johari said although the move would affect the people, the government was taking this difficult step to ensure the safety, health and lives of everyone.

"The Sarawak government is concerned with this situation and has previously implemented five Sarawakku Sayang Special Assistance Packages (BKSS) worth more than RM3.1bil, which has, to some extent, reduced the burden of the people," he said.

On items in BKSS 6.0, he said the nine cash handouts cover heads of households in the B40 group (RM250 for six months from July 31); single youths aged 21 and above in the B40 group (RM500 one-off from August); and frontliners, including nurse, doctors, and medical staff (RM300 for six months).

Those in the State Operations Room, armed forces, members of People's Voluntary Corps (Rela), Customs personnel, staff of local authorities, Bomba, and Civil Defence Force who are involved in the fight against Covid-1 will receive RM200 each for six months.

"The state government recognises the sacrifice and contribution of the media as frontliners who are facing the risk of Covid-19 while on duty in Sarawak. For this, a one-off cash handout of RM1,500 would be given to media frontliners that involves a total spend of RM900,000," he said.

Others to be given assistance include: Hawkers and small businesses registered under local authorities who will receive RM750 in July and December (total RM1500); boat operators registered with the Sarawak River Board to receive a one-off RM500; van, taxi and school bus drivers to receive a one-off RM600 and e-hailing drivers and driving instructors to get a one-off RM500.

Meanwhile, Abang Johari said there would also be special assistance for licensed tour operators (RM3,000), homestay operators (RM600), tour drivers and national park tour guides (RM1,500).

There will also be 5% to 25% discounts on electricity bills from July to December 2021; water bills (10% to 25% from July to December 2021); assessment bills (25% to 30%); rentals for local authority markets and stalls (50%); State Housing and Development Corporation rentals (50%), rental waiver for SMEs operating in government or GLC buildings (total RM2mil) and food baskets to families affected by the implementation of MCO (RM250,000 to each of the 82 state constituencies).

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