Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday launched a new stimulus known as the Pakej Perlindungan Rakyat dan Pemulihan Ekonomi (PEMULIH), with the aim of providing citizens with added financial assistance during the extended lockdown period. Included in the list of aids introduced are discounts for electricity bills for the span of three months starting in July, an extension of the daily 1GB data allocation from participating telcos, and an additional RM10 billion allocated for direct cash assistance from the government.
The latter, as revealed by the PM, will be carried out via three different programmes: Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR), Bantuan Khas COVID-19 (BKC), and Bantuan Kehilangan Pendapatan (BKP). Each of these will run alongside one another throughout the remainder of the year, with BKP reserved only to unemployed individuals in 2021.
Phase Two And Three Of Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR)
It is worth noting that the aforementioned BPR aid is the very same programme that was introduced during the PEMERKASA Plus stimulus that was announced back in late May. The second phase of BPR is set to commence tomorrow on 29 June, where an additional payment of up to RM500 will be distributed in stages to eligible Malaysians.
Meanwhile, the third phase of the programme with aid of RM100 to RM1,400 will be paid in September. PM Muhyiddin noted that payments of approved BPR appeal cases will be carried out in that month as well.
Bantuan Khas COVID-19 (BKC)
The newly announced BKC programme will be handled somewhat similarly to BPR, where the rate of financial aid is determined by categories: the hardcore poor (Miskin Tegar), Bottom40 (B40) and Middle 40 (M40). As explained by PM Muhyiddin, hardcore poor households are eligible to receive aid as much as RM500 in the months of August and November, and also RM300 in December. Meanwhile, single individuals within this category are eligible to receive up to RM200 in August, and RM300 in November.
B40 households on the other hand, are entitled to receive up to RM500 in August, and RM300 in December. Whereas, single individuals under B40 will receive up to RM200 in August. And finally, households and single individuals listed under the M40 categories will receive aid of up to RM250 and RM100 respectively in August.
Bantuan Kehilangan Pendapatan (BKP)
The last programme that was introduced under PEMULIH is the BKP aid, which is aimed to help individuals who have lost the ability to generate income in 2021 based on EPF or SOCSO data. Those eligible will receive aid of up to RM500, which will be distributed later in October this year. PM Muhyiddin says that BKP is expected to benefit up to 1 million affected individuals.
In addition, the PM has announced that the Elaun Mencari Pekerjaan (Job-Seeking Allowance) has been expanded to also include non-SOCSO contributors such as new graduates, school-leavers and informal sector workers. Eligible individuals under this initiative are encouraged to register an account under the government’s MyFutureJobs website, where they are set to receive at least a RM300 allowance.
EPF i-Citra Programme
Aside from those mentioned above, PM Muhyiddin also introduced the i-Citra programme for Employees Provident Fund (EPF) members during yesterday’s PEMULIH announcement. Through this, eligible members are allowed to withdraw up to RM5,000 from their retirement fund, with a maximum of RM1,000 per month over the course of five months.
Those interested are required to apply for the i-Citra program, which would be available via EPF’s portal starting next month on 15 July with the first payout expected to be credited to the participating member’s account by August 2021.