Sabah unveils RM670m aid for poor, small businesses, frontliners facing Covid-19 crisis

Shafie said that he was trying to expedite the funding to all channels in order for the assistance to reach its target as soon as possible. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Shafie said that he was trying to expedite the funding to all channels in order for the assistance to reach its target as soon as possible. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KOTA KINABALU, March 25 — Sabah Chief Minister Datuk Seri Shafie Apdal announced the state’s stimulus package worth RM670 million today that is aimed at mitigating the effects of the now-extended Movement Control Order brought on by Covid-19.

The “Sabah Cares” package includes 15 measures designed preserve the welfare and livelihoods of several groups including medical and enforcement frontliners, the hardcore poor, B40 income earners, and small-medium enterprise owners.

Among the initiatives are RM500 one-off cash aid to poor and hardcore poor households amounting to RM20 million, and RM300 one-off cash aid to the B40 households worth RM80 million.

Some RM36 million will be spent on a three-month waiver of water bills for 335,000 residential consumers and another RM35.65 million will be spent on a 30 per cent discount in electricity bills for 512,000 consumers in Sabah and Labuan.

For those in the public housing flats (PPR), there will be a six-month waiver of rent.

In addition, there will also be a 20 per cent reduction for assessment rates and 30 per cent reduction for quit rent for the Land and Survey Department.

A RM50 million special allocation is made for emergency and critical needs in handling the Covid-19 that will include special equipment and protective necessities like face masks, hand sanitisers and other gear for those on the frontline like doctors, nurses, health services staff and immigration officers.

Another RM10 million is for food aid for frontline workers including police, army, ESSCom, marine police and the volunteer police corps (RELA).

For businesses, the government is setting up an RM40 million micro credit scheme for 20,000 small businesses while hawkers will also be exempted from licensing fees for six months.

Some RM30 million will be for some 2,315 Village Community Management Council allowances while all state appointed workers who cannot work during this time will also be paid accordingly.

Another RM200 million will be spent on improving basic infrastructure, facilities and public services in all districts.

Shafie said that he was trying to expedite the funding to all channels in order for the assistance to reach its target as soon as possible given the current circumstances.

“The state government is also planning to introduce a second package aimed at boosting the economy and generate investments in Sabah once the movement control order ends,” he said.

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