KUALA LUMPUR – Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin unveiled a RM15 billion aid package to ease the people’s burden and ensure economic resilience at a time when the country is grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Muhyiddin said the Perlindungan Ekonomi dan Rakyat Malaysia (PERMAI) aid package contains 22 initiatives to combat the pandemic, safeguard the welfare of the people and support business continuity.
“The government has time and again demonstrated that we will not compromise in ensuring the rakyat’s wellbeing, business continuity and economic resilience,” he said when announcing the PERMAI package over national television and social media platforms yesterday.
Muhyiddin said under the objective of combating COVID-19, the government has provided an additional RM1 billion fund, of which RM800 million is for the Health Ministry and the balance for the National Security Council and other agencies.
The prime minister said this allocation would focus on supplies, including additional reagents, screening kits and personal protective equipment (PPE), specifically for healthcare personnel.
He said the planning for the national vaccination programme is on track, as the government has signed three agreements with vaccine producers, and is expected to receive the first batch of vaccines by the end of February.
“Through the established Special Committee on Ensuring Access to COVID-19 Vaccine Supply, the government will ensure transparency in the procurement of vaccines and give the utmost priority to the National Immunisation Programme with an allocation of RM3 billion,” he added.
Muhyiddin stressed that the guidelines and methods for receiving the vaccine will be announced soon, and the vaccination programme will be implemented in phases over a 12-month period.
This means the first batch is expected to be vaccinated by early March, and Malaysia is expected to meet its target of vaccinating more than 80 per cent of its population or close to 27 million people by the first quarter of 2022.
Here are the highlights:
– A one-off payment of RM500 for all medical frontliners, RM300 to be given in the first quarter of 2021.
– A total of 3,500 healthcare workers to be recruited with RM150mil allocated.
– Three agreements signed with vaccine producers – first batch of vaccines to arrive next month.
– RM800mil additional allocation for the Health Ministry (for supplies including additional reagents, screening kits as well as PPE equipment).
– RM200mil for the National Security Council and other relevant agencies.
– RM3bil for the Covid-19 National Immunisation Programme.
– Moratorium facility, including extension of the moratorium and restructuring of loan repayment will continue to be offered by banks.
– Credit counselling to be given by phone and online.
– Tax exemptions for computers, handphones, and tablets worth below RM2,500 to be extended until December 31, 2021.
– Social and Welfare Department (JKM) will implement a food basket programme immediately, which will provide essential food items worth RM100 for each eligible household, involving a total allocation of RM50mil.
– Government will allocate RM25mil under the GLIC/GLC Disaster Relief Network which includes provision of community assistance, to the elderly, homeless, the disabled and flood victims.
– Free 1 Gigabit data initiative will be extended until the end of April 2021.
– PTPTN borrowers affected by the pandemic or floods, can apply for a three-month PTPTN loan repayment moratorium. Application for this moratorium can be made until March 31, 2021.
– Wage subsidy programme 3.0 under Socso will be enhanced – all employers operating in the MCO states will be eligible to apply, irrespective of sector.
– Government allocates RM24mil to fund the full contribution under Socso’s Self-Employment Social Security Scheme for delivery riders.
– Government to expand the Prihatin Special Grant Plus assistance to cover 500,000 SMEs in the seven MCO states with a payment of RM1,000 each, while 300,000 SMEs in other states will receive RM500 each.
– A one-off financial assistance of RM500 to 14,000 tourist guides as well as 118,000 drivers of taxis, school buses, tour buses, rental cars and e-hailing vehicles, with an additional allocation of RM66mil.
– Special discount of 10% on electricity bills from January to March 2021 to six business sectors nationwide, comprising hotel operators, theme parks, convention centres, shopping malls, local airline offices as well as travel and tour agencies.
– Electricity rebates to all TNB users, domestic and non-domestic at a rate of two sen per kilowatt-hour, which is equivalent to a reduction in electricity bills of up to 9% for a period of six months, from January 1 to June 30, 2021.
– A Bus and Taxi Hire Purchase Rehabilitation Scheme introduced, where a 50% guarantee on financing from hire purchase and leasing companies will be provided for selected buses such as sightseeing buses, and taxis. A guarantee of RM1bil will be provided.
– Government agrees to extend the effective period of inability to perform contractual obligations to March 31, 2021 under the Temporary Measures for Reducing the Impact of Covid-19 Act 2020, or Act 829.
The PERMAI aid package is the fifth initiative implemented by the government to help the people and protect the economy since the Movement Control Order (MCO) was first implemented in March last year.
The government had implemented the RM250 billion Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package (PRIHATIN) in March 2020 and the RM10 billion Additional Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package (PRIHATIN Tambahan) in April 2020.
Apart from this, it also unveiled the RM35 billion National Economic Recovery Plan (PENJANA) in June last year and the RM10 billion Prihatin Supplementary Initiative Package (KITA Prihatin) in September.
To facilitate access to information on all initiatives and assistance provided, surf the portal, belanjawan2021.treasury.gov.my/manfaat/.