Selangor adds RM272.5m in 2nd stimulus package

by ALIFAH ZAINUDDIN/ pic by RAZAK GHAZALI

SELANGOR announced a stimulus package worth RM272.5 million yesterday, its second in less than two weeks, to help shelter its economy and society from the coronavirus pandemic.

The additional stimulus brings the overall fiscal injection to RM400 million, which will be used mainly to help mitigate Covid-19 and support small businesses, Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Amirudin Shari (picture) said. Selangor is the largest contributor to the nation’s GDP, with a contribution of 23.7% in 2018.

“Selangor plays a central role in the country’s economy. Therefore, we cannot take lightly the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the state’s socio-economic wellbeing,” Amirudin said during the stimulus package announcement yesterday. “Our goal should not be limited to contain the spread of Covid-19, but to win the aftermath effect of this pandemic.”

The state has recorded over 700 coronavirus infections so far, the highest in the country, with several districts facing the prospect of being placed under Enhanced Movement Control Order. Four districts in the state have been listed among 15 red zones identified by the Ministry of Health.

A red zone is defined as an area with more than 40 coronavirus cases. At press time, Hulu Langat sits at the top of the list with 265 cases, followed by Lembah Pantai (238) and Petaling (234). Nearly 4,000 residents in the Hulu Langat district are affected by a two-week lockdown after a spike in new cases.

The second stimulus package includes a total allocation worth nearly RM3 million to frontliners in the medical and media industries. Medical staff at all state hospitals will receive food and incentives for childcare throughout the Movement Control Order (MCO) period, while media officials will be eligible for free food.

The state government is also working to conduct mass testing at identified hotspots involving some 5,000 individuals. The cost is estimated at RM1.35 million. Selangor’s Covid-19 Task Force, which is chaired by former Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad, will receive a fund of RM50,000.

Patients who test positive for Covid-19 will receive a one-off payment of RM1,000.

The package also includes a provision to supply face masks, hand sanitisers and gloves worth RM2 million for people in Selangor. The state government will also spend RM3 million on quarantine facilities in the state set up specifically for the tabligh cluster and arrivals from abroad.

Other initiatives include the deferment of land tax to July 31. Payment for premium will be extended by one month under the MCO period. The effort will cost RM87.81 million in total.

Amirudin said members of the state government, including state representatives and state-linked companies, will cut their salaries amounting to RM8.07 million to fund the fight against Covid-19.

Amirudin announced the first package on March 20 aimed at specific groups affected by the pandemic. The package included seven initiatives with a total allocation of RM127.78 million, benefitting several groups including the frontliners, students, hawkers and petty traders.