Putrajaya to launch single platform for govt aid

Apart from the Welfare Department, scholarships and food aid are being provided by more than 20 agencies with no coordination

by S BIRRUNTHA / pic by TMR FILE

THE government is developing a one-stop digital platform for everyone who needs access to government aid which is aimed to be finalised by the end of October.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed said the initiative would ensure nobody is left behind, especially those who deserve help.

He added that the government would also be able to ensure that no one gets more than what they need at the expense of those who have missed out.

“At the moment, we have many agencies providing aid to the people. Apart from the Welfare Department and its activities, scholarships and food aid are being provided by more than 20 agencies. However, there is no coordination.

“What is being done now, and it is progressing quite well, is the development of a single digital platform where government officials have access to how much help one individual is getting, or whether he or she is getting any help at all.

“With that, hopefully, we can eliminate any exclusion errors,” he said at the virtual 2021 Malaysian Banking and Finance Summit organised by the KSI Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific yesterday.

Mustapa noted that through the platform, all agencies providing help and financial assistance would be required to furnish details.

By doing that, the government would be in a better position to identify and prevent duplication and to make sure that those who deserve help get it.

Meanwhile, Mustapa also delivered a special address on “Post Pandemic Priorities: Challenges and Opportunities for the Banking and Financial sector” during the summit, where he emphasised that banks and financial institutions should pull their weight and do more for the people.

He noted banks must help rebuild businesses post-pandemic, particularly micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) which have been hit hard and as demand for borrowing increases in a reopened economy.

“The pandemic has presented opportunities for businesses, especially in the area of digitalisation. Banks therefore should help businesses, especially MSMEs, to modernise, digitalise and transform their operations.

“Additionally, banks should do more to support high tech businesses. For example, banks must continue supporting start-ups in the digital space. These new businesses are at the forefront of the innovative economy and they must be given the facilitation they need,” he said.

Mustapa also added that banks are undergoing massive changes, especially in terms of technology.

He said as the traditional brick-and-mortar model of banking becomes a thing of the past, and virtual banking becomes more widespread, these changes will have an impact on bank employees.

Therefore, he said banks need to be more aggressive in helping their employees by introducing employment repurposing programmes to reskill and upskill.

Apart from that, Mustapa said banks must be more forthcoming in funding public-private partnerships or privatised projects in view of the current fiscal challenges.

He also noted that banks should step up their corporate social responsibility efforts in the wake of Covid-19.

“The perception on the ground is that banks are making a lot of money. So, banks must show the people that they are willing to do more for the society,” he added.

Commenting further, Mustapa said the 12th Malaysia Plan is due to be tabled in Parliament in the next few days, of which the government will put in place several transformations to address some of the structural challenges the Malaysian economy faces.

He stressed that the banking sector, as a key player in the economy, has an important role to play in achieving economic development goals.

“Going forward, post-pandemic, businesses and Malaysians will be expecting more support from the banking sector,” he noted.