Muhyiddin says the package, which involves RM10b of direct fiscal injection, aims at providing comprehensive assistance to the people
by SHAHEERA AZNAM SHAH / pic by BERNAMA
ANOTHER financial relief, worth RM150 billion, has been announced to continue supporting groups affected by the country’s extended lockdown period.
The fresh package, dubbed as the People’s Protection and Economic Recovery Package (Pemulih), comes a day after the government announced the extension of economic and social restrictions to an indefinite date as the country has been unable to lower its daily positive cases to below 4,000.
The package is also introduced a month after the RM40 billion updated Pemerkasa (Strategic Programme to Empower the People and Economy) Plus (Pemerkasa+). Prime Minister (PM) Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin (picture) said the package, which involves RM10 billion of direct fiscal injection, aims at providing comprehensive assistance to the people through three main focuses, namely continuing the people’s agenda, supporting businesses and improving the national vaccination rate.
Among the initiatives under Pemulih is the anticipated blanket loan moratorium, which will be offered for six months to borrowers who apply with the conditions of amended terms set by the banks.
“In collaboration with the banks, a six-month moratorium will be given to all borrowers from the B40 (bottom 40%), M40 (middle 40%) and T20 (top 20%) income groups, including the micro entrepreneurs.
“There are no more conditions such as income reduction or further review on documentation. You just need to apply and approval will be given automatically.
“This facility is also offered to the affected small and medium-sized entrepreneurs, subject to banks’ review and approval,” Muhyiddin said during a televised announcement yesterday.
The application for the moratorium will begin on July 7, 2021, where borrowers are required to apply and sign the agreement to amend the relevant loan terms.
“During the announcement of the Pemerkasa+, the government, as well as Bank Negara Malaysia and local banks, have implemented targeted loan repayment initiatives.
“To date, more than 250,000 eligible borrowers have been approved. They just have to choose either the three-month moratorium or the 50% instalment reduction payments for six months,” Muhyiddin said.
The moratorium under Pemulih is inclusive of student loan repayment where National Higher Education Fund Corp or PTPTN borrowers will enjoy a three-month targeted deferment, while Majlis Amanah Rakyat’s student financing will get either a three-month deferment or payment rescheduling with monthly instalments as low as RM100 for 12 months.
The moratorium for student loan and financing is expected to cost the government RM400 million, benefitting 1.6 million students.
The PM also announced the introduction of i-Citra, the Employees Provident Fund’s (EPF) latest withdrawal instrument, which is expected to benefit 12.6 million EPF members.
EPF contributors can make withdrawals up to RM5,000 with a fixed payment of RM1,000 per month for a period of five months, subject to their savings amount.
“This introduction was a difficult decision as the government is aware that it is people’s retirement savings, but we are taking the middle ground by introducing i-Citra as the pandemic calls for an urgent need for people who really need it,” the PM said.
Committing to the people’s agenda, Muhyiddin said the government will be injecting direct cash for initiatives including the Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR), Bantuan Khas Covid-19 (BKC) and the lost income assistance.
He added that this year, the government is expected to spend RM4.9 billion for BPR payments; RM4.6 billion for BKC, which benefits 11 million households as well as senior citizens and single individuals; and RM500 million for lost income assistance, benefitting one million EPF and Social Security Organisation members.
“With these three cash assistances, starting June until December this year, those who are in need will get the appropriate help,” Muhyiddin said.