KUALA LUMPUR – The government will implement several initiatives and additional assistance under the RM10 billion Prihatin Supplementary Initiative Package (Kita Prihatin) in line with its efforts to boost economic recovery, as reported on Bernama.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the additional package includes the RM7 billion Bantuan Prihatin Nasional 2.0 (BPN 2.0), the RM2.4 billion Wage Subsidy Programme 2.0 and the RM600 million Prihatin Special Grant (GKP) worth RM600 million.
He said the Kita Prihatin package targets four main groups, namely the bottom 40% income group (B40) who are married and single; M40 group with family and who are single; local workers in various fields and micro-traders in various fields.
“Since the beginning, the government has been focused on being a caring administration — a government that not only understands the problems faced by the people but also acts quickly and effectively to overcome the challenges that threaten the prosperity of the nation.
“The government needs to be caring during this time of need for Malaysians, especially given the current challenging period,” he said while announcing the Kita Prihatin package yesterday.
The Kita Prihatin package is an extension of previous economic stimulus packages, namely Prihatin, Prihatin SME Plus (for small and medium enterprises) and Penjana worth a total of RM295 billion, or about 20% of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP), with an additional fiscal injection by the government totalling RM45 billion.
Muhyiddin said the decision to provide additional cash handouts under BPN 2.0 is in consideration of the ongoing difficulties faced by the people as industries such as tourism and aviation are taking a longer time to recover from effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, the implementation of the Wage Subsidy Programme 2.0 aims to provide assistance to employers and employees who are still facing difficulties during the economic recovery period despite signs of a recovery in the job market.
“Under the Prihatin and Prihatin SME Plus packages, the government has provided a total allocation of RM15.3 billion to fund the Wage Subsidy Programme for up to 3.3 million workers.
“As at September 11, 2020, a total of 2.63 million workers and 321,000 employers had benefited from the Wage Subsidy Programme, involving an expenditure of RM10.4 billion,” he said.
The prime minister added that the government had agreed to reopen applications for the GKP from October 1 to 31, 2020 to ensure that more micro-businesses — which are eligible but have not yet availed themselves to the GKP — are able to obtain the financial assistance.
He said the latest figures from the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) revealed encouraging developments in economic indicators, such as the unemployment rate, manufacturing index, consumption index and others.
“The Ministry of Finance (MoF) will closely monitor measures to empower the people, support businesses and strengthen the economy to ensure the country’s economic recovery continues.
“My Cabinet colleagues and I are always open to receiving feedback from the public in order to ensure the effectiveness of the measures implemented by the government in alleviating the people’s burden,” Muhyiddin said.
He added that after the announcement of each economic stimulus package, the government will monitor the implementation for areas that can be further strengthened, and continuous improvements are made to ensure that no citizen is left out from receiving assistance.
“The amount to be channelled under BPN 2.0 is RM1,000 each to 3.7 million B40 households, RM500 to 3.8 million single people in B40, RM600 to nearly 1.4 million M40 households, and RM300 to 1.7 million singles in the M40 group.
“The BPN 2.0 payment will be made in two instalments, the first at the end of October 2020 and the second in January 2021. For the B40 group, the first instalment payment of RM700 will be made this October and the second payment of RM300 in January 2021,” he said.
With the announcement, Muhyiddin hopes that the groups involved could feel some relief in meeting their households’ daily expenses.
The government on March 27 announced the BPN of RM9.24 billion under the Prihatin Economic Stimulus Package (Prihatin) to ensure that no group would be neglected.
Previously, the BPN payment was RM1,600 for those with a monthly household income of RM4,000 or below, RM1,000 for household income of RM4,001 to RM8,000, RM800 for singles earning RM2,000 or below, and RM500 for singles earning RM2,001 to RM4,000 per month.