Updated: Muhyiddin announces RM40 bln financial aid package to tide through MCO and COVID-19 challenges

KUALA LUMPUR, May 31 – The Prime Minister today announced another fiancial aid package in view of the full lockdown effective June 1-14 under the ongoing Movement Control Order 3.0, and the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Set to meet three objectives of strengthening the public health sector, taking care of the people’ welfare and sustaining businesses, the aid package, “Pemerkasa Plus” will see a direct fiscal injection of RM5 billion.

Calling on the people to “just stay home and help” fight the COVID-19 spread, the prime minister announced various aid packages that will see the public health sector beefed up to face the onslaught of the COVID-19, while 20 million households in the country will receive cash assistance and the small and medium businesses will also receive business grants, interest free loans among others.

The public health sector will receive an injection of RM1 billion to strengthen its capacities and facilities. These would include RM450 million to increase its ICU (intensive care units) beds and equipment, not only in hospitals under the Health Ministry but also training hospitals and field hospitals as well as private hospitals. The amount includes the RM200 million announced recently by the Finance Minister, Muhyiddin said.

Another RM550 million will be allocated for the operations involved in the management and control of the COVID-19 virus. These would include running the quarantine and vaccination centres, the extension of contract for medical staff, reemployment of retiring staff as well as for medicine, testing kits.

As for the rakyat, a total of RM2.1 billion will be allocated under the Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR) financial assistance to help them during the period.

Households with income of less than RM2,500 will receive an additional help of RM500, while those with income of RM2,501 to RM5,000 will receive RM300. Singles will receive RM100. They are expected to get the aid by end of June.

Other forms of help announced for affected small traders and businesses, assistance with bank loans as well as one-off payment for participants in the transport and tourism industry were also announced.

These include RM500 one-off cash aid for 17,000 registered tour guides, 40,000 taxi drivers, 11,000 school bus drivers, 4,000 express bus drivers and 62,000 charter and e-hailing drivers.

The payments will be channelled to registered recipients in July.

To ensure businesses continue to operate, especially the small and medium sized entrepreneurs, they would be given the Prihatin Special Grant (GKP).

Close to one million SMEs and micro enterprises are expected to receive RM1,000 in mid-June and RM500 in July.