KUCHING: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg today announced the ‘Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang 3.0’ (BKSS 3.0) aid package valued at RM300 million, comprising seven measures involving more special allowances, incentives and grants for Sarawakians.
The first measure involves incentives for heads of B40 households, and single Sarawakians aged 21 years and above with a monthly income of RM2,000 and below.
Involving cost of RM234 million, Abang Johari said this incentive would be distributed following feedback received by Sarawak government that many heads of households were left out from BKSS 1.0.
“Sarawak government will allocate RM1,500 cash aid to about 30,000 heads of households who were not listed under BKSS1.0.
“I am also pleased to announce that the Sarawak government will give a one-off payment of RM500 each to 377,806 singles with an income below RM2,000 per month,” he told a press conference today.
The second measure involves a RM750 special grant for petty traders and hawkers registered under local councils through Sarawak Pay.
Abang Johari said this special grant is in addition to the RM1,500 cash assistance under BKSS2.0 paid in two stages in May and July.
“Since the hawkers and petty traders are most affected by the pandemic, I am pleased to announce that the Sarawak government is increasing this Special Grant to another RM750 for them this month.
“With this additional amount, every hawker and petty trader will receive a total RM2,350 through this Special Grant. I hope this will assist them as they are losing income during this period,” he said, adding this involved expenditure of RM48.75 million.
The third measure involves a RM200 special monthly allowance for a period of six months for personnel from the Malaysian Royal Custom, local councils, Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba) and Civil Defence Force (APM).
Abang Johari said that under BKSS 1.0, the special allowance was given only to personnel from the Health Department, Immigration, Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), State Ops Room, Malaysia Armed Forces (ATM) and RELA.
“The Sarawak government also appreciates the contributions and sacrifices made by the other frontliners in managing the pandemic and exposing themselves to risk of infection in their line of duty.
“In this respect, I have agreed that the Special Monthly Allowance of RM200 for six months is also paid to 358 Malaysian Royal Custom personnel at the state’s entry and exit points, ports and airports; 870 personnel of local councils involved in emergency services, inspection works and sanitation; 887 personnel of Fire and Rescue Department involved in emergency and sanitation works especially in high risk areas, and 500 Civil Defence Force (APM) personnel involved in assisting the police and armed forces in ensuring public compliance to the Movement Control Order (MCO).
“The Sarawak government will spend RM3.2 million to pay this Special Monthly Allowance,” he said.
The fourth measure is a RM500 one-off cash aid to owners and operators of ‘penambang’ (boats) registered under Sarawak Rivers Board (SRB) .
Abang Johari said those operating ‘penambang’ are suffering loss of income due to drastic drop in number of customers, particularly tourists, and this measure is expected to benefit and reduce the financial burden of 199 registered owners and operators of the ‘penambang’.
“This will involve an expenditure of RM99,500,” he added.
The fifth measure involves a one-off cash aid of RM600 to 959 operators of ‘van penumpang’, 1,976 taxi drivers and 739 operators of school buses and vans whom are registered in Sarawak.
Abang Johari said the state government is aware of the loss of income suffered by this group due to the pandemic, as they had been providing transportation service needed by Sarawakians and visitors to the state.
“This assistance involves an expenditure of RM2.2 million,” he said.
The sixth measure involves special grants to registered tour guides and national park guides who are now affected by the cancellation of trips by tourists and the lack of need for their services in the coming six months.
Aware that many of them may be out of jobs due to this situation, he said the Sarawak government will allocate a one-off RM1,500 cash assistance to the 145 registered tour guides and national park guides in the state.
“This will involve an expenditure of RM387,000,” he said.
On the seventh measure, Abang Johari said this would involve an allocation of RM1.6 million as capital expenses for Bank Simpanan Nasional to conduct Mobile Bank Branch Services in rural areas of Sarawak.
The chief minister said the Sarawak government took note of lack of access to banking services faced by the rural communities, especially when withdrawing cash assistance from the BKSS, Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) and Bantuan Prihatin Nasional (BPN).
After discussions with Bank Negara Malaysia, BSN and other financial institutions, he said Mobile Bank Branch Services equipped with MEPS automated teller machines (ATMs) will be operating in rural parts of Sarawak.
“For a start, the BSN mobile counter will operate in Pakan, Sarikei on May 10 and 11, and this service will be extended to other rural areas of Sarawak,” he revealed.
In a surprise announcement to the members of the media present at the press conference, he announced the cabinet had also agreed to a one-off RM1,500 assistance to some 500 members of the fraternity.
He explained the assistance was in appreciation of the contributions of the media, who were also exposed to the risks of Covid-19 in the line of duty.
“BKSS 3.0 involves a total of RM300 million injection to Sarawak economy. The overall BKSS 2020 involves a total amount of RM2.55 billion.
“I hope these measures will be able to lessen the financial burden of our people and business communities and help them to recover and regain their momentum to uplift their livelihood,” said Abang Johari.
The BKSS 1.0 valued at RM1.15 billion was announced by Abang Johari on March 23 to help the low and medium income groups, while the BKSS 2.0 valued at RM1.1 billion was announced on April 10, where special attention was given to these struggling businessmen and traders.
Source: Borneo Post