Increased allocation and allowance to MoH and frontliners in war against Covid-19
by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN/ pic by TMR FILE
LAST Friday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced a RM250 billion social and economic package to ease the impact of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The unprecedented second stimulus package is over 10 times more than the initial package announced last month as the recent package amounted to over three quarters of the government’s RM297 billion 2020 budget.
Muhyiddin described the situation as unprecedented in Malaysia’s history and thus, it requires unprecedented measures.
These are some of the key components of the stimulus package.
Improving Household Cashflow
- Households with less than RM4,000 monthly income will receive RM1,600 to be disbursed in stages — RM800 in April and another RM800 in May.
- Households with a monthly income of RM4,000-RM8,000 will receive RM1,000.
- Individuals aged above 21 who are single and earn less than RM2,000 a month will be eligible for a payment of RM800 to be disbursed in stages — RM 400 in April and the balance in May.
- Individuals aged above 21 who are single and earn between RM2,000 and RM4,000 a month will receive RM500.
Additional funds for MoH, Frontliners to Fight Covid-19
- An additional RM1 billion for Ministry of Health (MoH) to purchase medical equipment and recruitment.
- Special allowance of RM600 a month from April 1 until the end of the pandemic for medical staff including doctors and nurses.
- Special allowance of RM200 for the police, customs, immigration, armed forces and voluntary corps for their involvement in enforcing the Movement Control Order (MCO).
Assistance for Students and Vulnerable Groups
- Students in higher learning institutions will receive a one-off payment of RM200 in May.
- Vulnerable groups including the elderly and homeless people will receive assistance in the form of food, medical equipment and shelter via non-governmental organisations worth RM25 million.
Rebates on Electricity Tariffs
- • An additional RM530 million for rebates on electricity tariffs in addition to the RM500 million allocated in the previous stimulus package.
- • Discounts of between 15% and 50% will be offered on electricity usage up to a maximum of 600kW a month. Households will continue to enjoy a discount of 2%. All discounts will take place for six months from April 1.
- Telecommunication companies will provide free Internet access to all customers from April 1 until the end of the MCO. The move is expected to cost RM600 million.
- Another RM400 million will be channelled to improve coverage and quality of the network.
Civil Servants and Pensioners
- Civil servants will receive a one-off payment of RM500 in April.
- Some 850,000 pensioners will also receive a one-off payment of RM500 in April.
- The government will channel RM1 billion into a Food Security Fund to ensure the continuous supply of food in the country.
- The government has also allocated RM100 million to provide facilities for the storage and distribution of food.
Subsidies on Wages
- The government will pay RM600 a month for three months to workers with a monthly income of less than RM4,000. This is for employees working in companies that experienced income declining by over 50% since Jan 1. This move is to prevent mass layoffs.
- Employers must not retrench employees or direct them to take unpaid leave for three months.
- Employers are also not prohibited from deducting employees’ existing salary.
E-hailing and Taxi Drivers
- • E-hailing drivers will receive a one-off payment of RM500 in addition to the earlier RM600. The payout is expected to benefit 120,000 e-hailing drivers.
For Businesses and Employers
- The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) will introduce the Employer Advisory Services (EAS) beginning April 15 to provide customised advisory support for employers, specifically on employers’ portion to EPF contributions. The EAS is expected to benefit over 480,000 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and other corporations to ensure job continuity for 7.6 million employees.
- All sectors will be exempted from the Human Resources Development Fund levy payments for six months beginning April. This measure is expected to improve company cashflows with total savings of RM440 million.
- Suspension of income tax instalment payments for all SMEs for three months from April 1 is expected to benefit 750,000 SMEs.