First payment for Special Covid-19 Assistance starts Sept 6

The RM3.1b special cash aid is expected to benefit 4.4m households, 1.1m single senior citizens and 4.5m single individuals

by NUR HANANI AZMAN / pic by BLOOMBERG

THE first phase of the Special Covid-19 Assistance (BKC) payments will be made in stages from Sept 6 for B40 recipients and Sept 9 for M40 recipients with allocation totalling RM3.1 billion.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz (picture) said BKC is expected to benefit 4.4 million households, 1.1 million single senior citizens and 4.5 million single individuals.

“Overall, BKC with RM4.6 billion allocation is another form of cash aid which is expected to benefit more than 10 million households, senior citizens and single people.

“BKC payments are scheduled to be made in September, November and December this year,” he said during the 66th Report of the National Economic Implementation and Strategic Coordination Agency (Laksana) yesterday.

BKC was part of the direct cash aid worth RM10 billion under the RM150 billion National People’s Wellbeing and Economic Recovery Package.

Meanwhile, the Jaringan Prihatin programme which was launched in May for the B40 group will be extended until Sept 30, in conjunction with the National Day and Malaysia Day celebrations.

Tengku Zafrul said the RM3.5 billion Jaringan Prihatin programme is an initiative under Budget 2021 where B40 individuals could receive RM180 or RM300 for the purchase of smartphones or broadband Internet plans.

“As of Aug 20, subsidies worth RM412.6 million had been successfully utilised by 3.1 million recipients,” he added.

The finance minister also said one of the main thrusts in the country’s economic recovery plan is Budget 2022, which the Finance Ministry (MoF) is currently in the process of gathering ideas and feedback.

“This may be the country’s most important recovery budget ever, so we must be as inclusive as possible in crafting it.

“Apart from assistance for the people, Budget 2022 will set the direction of the Malaysian economy post-pandemic in line with the 12th Malaysia Plan which will be tabled in the next Parliament session,” he said.

For the first time in history, MoF shared a Pre-Budget Statement to increase transparency and people’s involvement in formulating annual budget initiatives as well as increase public confidence in the country’s fiscal management, especially among investors.

“In line with the concept of ‘Keluarga Malaysia’, I will meet as many parties for cross-party discussions including Opposition, non-governmental organisations and various other stakeholders to ensure the presentation of an inclusive budget for all Malaysians.

“As of Tuesday, engagement sessions have been conducted with various bodies, including the Khazanah Research Institute, the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs and the Association of Private Hospitals of Malaysia on the direction and elements that need to be focused on in Budget 2022,” he concluded.