Allowing phase shifts by state is a fair approach

The govt also implemented a Food Basket Programme worth RM100 for each eligible household


BASED on developments around the country, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz (picture) said several other states are also expected to move to the next phase of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) soon.

He said the NRP is showing progress with six states having achieved the thresholds required to move from Phase 1 to Phase 2.

During his presentation of the 60th Implementation and Coordination Unit Between National Agencies report yesterday, Tengku Zafrul said the developments seen in Kelantan, Terengganu, Perak, Pahang, Perlis and Penang should encourage and boost the confidence of other states to also move out of Phase 1 soon.

He said allowing phase shifts by state is a fair approach as it allows for an earlier transition for states that have lowered their number of Covid-19 cases, having lesser use of beds in intensive care units and having increased the percentage of vaccinated population.

The first phase of the government’s Prihatin Kasih cashless food aid programme started on July 1 in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur, in areas undergoing the Enhanced Movement Control Order.

The next phase will be launched in all states by October 2021. The initiative provides an allocation of RM100 million in cashless food aid to 300,00 urban poor households nationwide.

Tengku Zafrul said the government also implemented a Food Basket Programme which will provide essential food items worth RM100 for each eligible household, with a total allocation of RM50 million.

“As of yesterday, a total of 438,376 food baskets have been distributed to underprivileged recipients who are affected by the movement restrictions.

“On top of that, an RM80 million allocation for the Food Basket Programme and a distribution of RM300,000 have been channelled to every MP including the Opposition from July 1,” he added.

The government will extend the Wage Subsidy Programme (WSP) to WSP 4.0 which will be implemented over four months from Aug 1, aimed at helping employers to continue business and retain employees.

Tengku Zafrul said for WSP 4.0, RM3.8 billion will be channelled to qualified employers and limited to 500 workers for each company.

“The programme has targeted 242,000 employers with about 2.5 million employees nationwide.

“WSP 4.0 will maintain the rate of RM600 per employee, and is open to all economic sectors for the first two months, while the subsequent two months will be specifically for sectors in the negative list.

“For WSP 4.0, there is no longer a salary limit requirement. Under the previous WSP, there is a salary cap of RM4,000 and below,” he added.

He urged all affected employers to apply for WSP 4.0 from Aug 1 until Oct 31, 2021.

Tengku Zafrul said the government has spent over RM15 billion under WSP to save over 2.8 million jobs.