The Government has introduced 22 initiatives that will be carried out under the ‘pakej bantuan Perlindungan Ekonomi dan Rakyat Malaysia’ (PERMAI) which is based on three goals – to fight the Covid-19 outbreak, to preserve the welfare of the Rakyat, and to support business sustainability and continuity.
Here are among the important details to take note of:
Implementation of the COVID-19 Vaccination Program
The plans for vaccination is on-track, the government has signed three agreements with vaccine distributors and is expected to receive the vaccines towards the end of February. Through the ‘Jawatankuasa Khas Jaminan Akses Bekalan Vaksin COVID-19’ the Government will ensure transparency of vaccine procurement and primary attention will be given to the National Immunization Program. A total of 3 billion ringgit has been allocated specifically for this acquisition.
Strengthening the National Health System
The government will be adding more than 3,500 health workers on duty to the Ministry of Health this month, with an additional allocation of RM150 million. A one-off payment of RM500 to all medical frontliners and RM300 to other frontliners will be made within the first quarter of this year.
Cooperation with Private Hospitals
Private hospitals have agreed to receive and treat both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients to relieve pressure on the public health system. The government has allocated RM100 million for this purpose.
Speeding up the payment of ‘Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat’
The final phase of the ‘Bantuan Prihatin Nasional’ (BPN 2.0) will be quickened and payments will commence on 21 January 2020 onwards. For the ‘Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat’ (BPR), houses earning up to RM5,000 a month will receive RM300, and RM150 for single individuals earning up to RM2,000 a month.
Welfare Strengthening Program
The Social Welfare Department will be implementing the ‘Program Bakul Makanan’ which includes essential food items worth 100 ringgit for each eligible household, with a total allocation of RM50 million.
Continuation of Moratorium Period and Reduction Loan repayments
Moratoriums, including extended moratoriums, and the reduction of loan installments will be offered by the banks as announced previously. The government ensures that citizens do not have to worry about contacting the bank if they are require payment flexibility as over 1.3 million borrowers have applied and received payment assistance, with an approval rate of 95 percent for individual borrowers and 99 per cent for SME borrowers.
Extension of Sales Tax Exemption on Passenger Vehicles
As part of PENJANA package initiative, the Government has announced an exemption sales tax on local assembly type passenger vehicles and imports to be extended until 30 Jun 2021.
Extension of Moratorium Period for PTPTN Borrowers
Application for adjournment can be made until 31 March 2021.
Improvement of the Wage Subsidy Program
The Government announced the Wage Subsidy Program 3.0 under PERKESO will be improved, where employers from all sectors operating during MCO are eligible to apply. For a period of one month, the eligible employer will receive wage subsidies of RM600 for each employee earning less than RM4,000. (Capped at 500 employees)
Continuation of ‘Geran Khas Prihatin’
The government has announced the financial assistance of RM1,000 through the ‘Geran Khas Prihatin Tambahan’ (GPK Tambahan) to be given to businesses and hawkers in Sabah. The Government will expand this Additional GKP assistance to 500,000 SMEs in seven MCO states with a payment of RM1,000, while 300,00 SMEs in other states will receive 500 ringgit.
One-Off Financial Assistance to Taxi and Bus Drivers
The government has agreed to provide one-off financial assistance of RM500 to 14,000 tour guides, 118,000 taxi drivers, school buses, sightseeing buses, rental cars, and e-hailing vehicles.
Accelerate the Implementation of the Microcredit Scheme
The government will expedite the implementation of microcredit schemes, as announced previously. A total of RM1 billion microcredit facilities are provided.
Improving ‘Skim Jaminan PRIHATIN’
Under PENJANA, the Government has announced the ‘Skim Jaminan PRIHATIN Danajamin’ amounting to RM50 billion, to support the private sector to continue to grow and boosting the country's economy.
Electricity Bill Discount
The government also agreed to provide discounts of 10% on electricity bills for the period of January to March 2021 to six business sectors nationwide. This includes hotel operators, theme parks, convention centers, shopping malls, local airline offices as well as travel agencies.
All TNB users will receive a rebate on electricity charges at the rate of RM0.02 per kilowatt per hour, which is equivalent to a reduction in electricity bills of up to 9 percent for a period of 6 months from 1 January to 30 June 2021.