Free Internet, Financial Aid Up to RM1,600 and Other Highlights from PRIHATIN Package Announcement

Image from Bernama.

To overcome the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has revealed the full economic stimulus package that will benefit all Malaysians – and we mean ALL Malaysians – regardless of race, religion or income bracket.

The stimulus package – or Prihatin/caring package, which is valued at RM250 billion will aid the front liners, the Makcik Kiahs, university students. Among the benefits are financial aid, free internet, exemption of rental payment and more.

Prior to this, the government announced on Monday (23 March) an allocation of RM600mil to the Ministry of Health and RM300mil to state governments to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic. The PM also announced that EPF holders below 55 can withdraw up to RM500 a month from the Account 2 savings starting on 1 April 2020.

Below are the highlights from the PM’s announcement to help the people during the Covid-19 pandemic:

1. RM500mil for Health Ministry to get resources such as equipment and staff.

2. Special allowance for healthcare workers from RM400 to RM800 starting 1 April 2020 until end of pandemic.

3. Additional special allowance of RM200 a month for front liners for police, immigration, Customs Department.

4. National Caring Aid (Bantuan Prihatin Nasional) involving one-off cash payment of RM10bil will be given to the B40 and M40 group, including private workers, farmers and fishermen. The breakdown includes RM1,600 to households earning below RM4,000 a month; RM1,000 for households earning between RM4,000 to RM8,000; RM800 for single Malaysians aged 21 and above earning RM2,000 and below; RM500 for single Malaysians aged 21 and above earning between RM2,000 and RM4,000.

5. RM200 one-off aid to university students who are affected

6. Free Internet from April onwards until the end of MCO

7. Government together with TNB will add an allocation of RM530mil for discounts between 15% and 50% for electricity usage up to a maximum of 600kW a month for six months from the April bill.

8. Six months of rental payment exemption for PPR and public housing.

9. Insurance and takaful companies will set a RM8mil fund to bear Covid-190 screening test costs of up to RM300 each for policyholders

10. Govt to give one-off payment of RM500 to some 120,000 e-hailing drivers beginning April 1.

11. Govt and BNM will set additional allocation of RM4.5bil for SME and micro-entrepreneurs that will comprise of five initiatives.

12. One-off RM500 for 120,000 e-hailing drivers nationwide with an allocation of RM60mil. This is in addition to the RM600 one-off aid announced for taxi drivers that was announced in the previous stimulus package.

13. Govt will pay the salaries borne by contractors involved in the service sector, such as cleaning services and supply of cooked food in government agencies.

14. Govt will introduce a wage subsidy of RM600 a month for three months for employers with a 50% drop in business since Jan 1, for workers with a salary of below RM4,000.

15. Govt will continue all projects allocated in Budget 2020, including ECRL, MRT2 and the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP) in line with its focus to ensure sustainable economic development.

16. Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF) levy exempted for all sectors for six months starting April 2020.

17. Federal government premises such as school canteens, nurseries, cafeteria and convenience stores exempted from rent for six months.

18. Govt pensioners to receive RM500 one-off cash aid.

You know it’s serious when the PM ended his announcement in English. He addressed that he understood the public’s concern of the Covid-19 situation, mixed with the shocking switch of a new government just before:

“We are a nation at war with invisible forces. The situation we are now facing is unprecedented in history. And, this government may not be the government that you voted for. But I want all of you to know that this government cares for you,” PM Muhyiddin Yassin said.

“…I came in as your Prime Minister not at the best moment. I face political, economic and health crisis all at the same time,” he continued.

Muhyiddin also reassured the people – regardless of race and religion – to bear with the government in this unprecedented crisis and said that we will come out stronger after this. He concluded his speech by saying:

“We are not perfect, but we are doing the best we can to pull through this crisis together, as one nation. God willing, we will come out stronger when this crisis ends and the dust settles. InsyaAllah.” 

To all the Makcik Kiahs out there, we bid you well!

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