Govt aid for flood victims to rise to RM2b

The disaster estimated to cause a reduction in economic sectors’ production value of between RM4b and RM8b

by ASILA JALIL / pic credit: Tengku Zafrul FB

GOVERNMENT aid for flood victims is expected to increase by RM600 million to RM2 billion from its initial allocation of RM1.4 billion.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul (picture) said the government has provided various forms of aid to assist the victims, including those who require house renovations and even new homes after the flood.

To date, 439 heads of households (KIR) are eligible to receive cash assistance up to RM5,000 for repair works of small homes and nearly 10,000 homes are eligible to get work done on their properties worth between RM5,000 and RM15,000. A total of 259 victims require the government’s assistance to build new homes.

“The government is committed to implement various assistance to flood victims with a total allocation of RM1.4 billion.

“However, the total amount for Keluarga Malaysia Flood Assistance is expected to reach RM2 billion after we considered the aids in addition to the need to repair houses and public facilities,” he said in his debate in the Dewan Rakyat yesterday during a special meeting that was convened to discuss the recent flood crisis.

Tengku Zafrul also said the floods will affect economic activities, especially in the worst-hit areas. It is estimated that the disaster will cause a reduction in economic sectors’ production value of between RM4 billion and RM8 billion.

“However, the projected GDP growth for 2021 still remains between 3% and 4% based on key indicators that showed encouraging signs of recovery,” he said.

The Ministry of Finance has channelled funds totalling RM300 million for the northeast monsoon under the National Disaster Relief Trust Fund to date.

The minister explained that the Keluarga Malaysia Flood Assistance is divided into three categories, encompassing cash assistance, community initiatives, as well as loan assistance.

Tengku Zafrul said the government has channelled over RM125 million to the states affected by the floods to coordinate the disbursement of the compassionate cash aid (BWI) and BWI death assistance to KIR. A total of 45,000 households have also received electric bill exemption for the month of December 2021.

“The government has also provided discount vouchers of RM500 for the flood victims to purchase electrical appliances that were damaged by the floods.

“Based on the latest data, the vouchers have benefitted nearly 5,100 KIR with the total vouchers used nearing RM2.5 million.”

On top of that, the government also provides RM2,500 for flood victims to purchase basic household supplies. Automotive assistance worth RM1,000 is provided for flood victims who want to fix their vehicles or buy new ones after the floods.

Proton Holdings Bhd and Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sendirian Bhd or Perodua are also providing free towing services and 50% discounts for car parts at their registered service centres. Other workshops have agreed to provide free towing services and 25% discounts for replacements of car parts.

“More than 20 automotive companies with more than 1,800 service centres and registered workshops have agreed to join in the Keluarga Malaysia Automotive Assistance programme.

“Nearly 5,000 vehicles have been sent to the registered service centres and received the benefits.”

Under the community initiative categories, Tengku Zafrul said the government has allocated RM200 million, including RM50 million specifically for Selangor and Pahang to initiate work after the floods.

The minister also highlighted the assistance provided by financial institutions, which include loan repayment moratorium and free replacement of lost banking-related documents for the victims.

Among the banks that provide assistance for the victims include Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN), which offers financing at 0% including a six-month repayment moratorium for financing of up to RM10 million.

“Initially, the initiative was announced with an allocation of RM100 million. However, given the demand by flood victims, the government has agreed to raise the funds for this initiative to RM200 million.

“As at Jan 19, BSN has approved financing worth nearly RM189 million,” Tengku Zafrul added.