A RM1 billion allocation for the procurement of equipment and services to fight the threats of COVID-19, including the services of private medical experts.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the government will channel additional allocation through the economic stimulus package.
The insurance and takaful industry players would also set up a special fund of RM8 million in support of the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) efforts to carry out more tests and health screening to curb the spread of COVID-19 infection in the country.
He said it was to finance the cost of health screening of RM300 for each insurance policy and takaful certificate holder instructed by the MOH to undergo the COVID-19 test or screening at any private hospital or laboratory.
In addition, family insurance and takaful companies will offer a three-month deferment of premiums to policyholders whose source of income is affected by the pandemic.
Last Monday, the government announced an allocation of RM500 million to MOH in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 including to finance the purchase of medical equipment such as ventilators, ICU equipment and additional personal protective equipment (PPE).
Muhyiddin said in appreciation of the sacrifices of doctors, nurses and healthcare workers, the government would increase their special allowance from RM400 to RM600 a month from April 1 until the COVID-19 situation improved.
“In the first economic stimulus package, the government has agreed to give special allowance to doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers involved directly in managing and addressing the pandemic,” he said when announcing the economic stimulus package live on national television.
At the same time, the government also agreed to extend the special allowance of RM200 a month to members of the military, police, customs, immigration, Civil Defense Force and RELA who are directly involved in the implementation of the Movement Control Order.
The allowance will be paid from April 1.
To Strenghten The Economy, Protect The Rakyat
The RM250 billion stimulus package announced should see rakyat’s concerns protected businesses and economy supported, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
- Fiscal injection of RM22 billion.
- Government guarantees totalling RM55 billion.
- Other initiatives involving more than RM153 billion.
Muhyiddin said of the amount government will channel almost RM128 billion towards safeguarding the people’s welfare, RM100 billion to support businesses including the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and RM2 billion to strengthen the national economy.
In his speech, telecast live, he said the government’s priority at this time was to curb the spread of Covid-19.
“The Prihatin Rakyat Stimulus Package will provide immediate assistance to ease the burden of all Malaysians.”
To assist SMES and micro entrepreneurs, the government and Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) will allocate a further RM4.5 billion for five key initiatives.
Firstly, Muhyiddin said, the amount of the Special Relief Facility in the form of working capital for SMEs will be increased by RM3 billion to a total of RM5 billion, while the interest rate for the facility will be lowered to 3.5 per cent from 3.75 per cent previously.
The size of the Fund for SMEs – All Economic Sectors will be expanded to RM6.8 billion from RM1 billion to enhance access to financing for SMEs.
An additional fund of RM500 million will be pumped into the Micro Credit Scheme provided by Bank Simpanan Nasional, raising the total to RM700 million.
The initiative is open to micro entrepreneurs in all sectors, including childcare centre operators, bus and taxi operators, the creative industry and online traders.
SMEs that have a track record of less than four years can also benefit from Credit Guarantee Corporation’s BizMula-i and BizWanita-i schemes that offer up to RM300,000 in financing.
The government today agreed to allocate RM10 billion to help those in the M40 group and below affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The aid will be channelled through the ‘Bantuan Prihatin Nasional’ one-off cash payment, which would also a first for the M40 household income group in terms of cash aid.
“They (recipients) include private-sector employees, Felda settlers, farmers, fishermen, petty traders and all those in the M40 group and below.”
The allocation include;
- RM1,600 for almost 4 million households with income of RM4,000 and below.
- RM800 for 3 million individuals aged 21 and above with single status and earning RM2,000 and below.
- RM500 for 400,000 aged 21 and above with single status and earning between RM2,000 and RM4,000.
- RM500 one-off aid for 120,000 e-hailing drivers.
- Free Internet for all subscribers from April 1 to end of Movement Control Order period. (Additional RM400 million to be invested to increase telecommunications coverage, capacity)
The government will also focus on domestic investment activities that have high multiplier effects and the capacity to sustain employment.
They have identified several small projects worth RM2 billion such as upgrading roads and schools in Sabah and Sarawak, as well as cleaning of worship houses and police stations.
The government will also carry out small projects costing RM2 billion as announced in the previous economic stimulus package set for implementation in April 2020.
“The government will also continue the implementation of all the projects allocated in the 2020 Budget, including the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) project, Mass Rail Transit (MRT) Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya line (MRT SSP) or MRT 2, and the National Optical and Connectivity Plan.
“This is in line with the government’s focus in ensuring sustainable economic growth,” Muhyiddin said. – Bernama