KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 26 — WIth several new and improved measures for Budget 2021, the shaky Perikatan Nasional (PN) government managed to overcome arguably one of its biggest hurdles after the federal spending plan passed the policy stage in Parliament today.
Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz, in his winding up speech, described PN as a government that was truly concerned about the welfare of Malaysians and that the Budget was drafted with their livelihoods and resilience of the economy in mind, before announcing the improved perks.
The initial Budget tabled on November 6 received mixed reactions from aligned and opposing lawmakers but was still approved via a voice vote in the Dewan Rakyat today.
Here is the list of improved incentives announced by Tengku Zafrul earlier today that passed through Parliament for its second reading.
Withdrawal from Employees Provident Fund (EPF)
All EPF contributors can now apply to withdraw up to RM10,000 from their Account-1 balance, up from the 12 withdrawals of RM500 from Account-2 previously announced by Tengku Zafrul. This option is now available to more than eight million contributors.
RM300 one-off handouts to non-medical front liners including policemen, armed forces personnel, disaster management officials, and members from People’s Volunteer Corps (Rela). This is in addition to the RM500 on off aid announced just for medical front liners.
RM500 on-off payment to all retired and former policemen set to benefit 80,000 individuals and cost RM40million. The incentive was previously announced only for retirees awarded the Pingat Jasa Pahlawan Negara (PJPN) medal.
RM100 deposited directly into e-wallets of 1.5 million youths and some 1.1 million undergraduates in public and private institutions under the eBelia initiative. Previously, allocation was only for RM50 for 1.5 million youths aged 18 to 20 was announced.
RM300 payment in Dec 2020, January and February 2021 in Monsoon Season Assistance to eligible smallholder farmers registered under the Rubber Industry Smallholders Development Authority (Risda), set to benefit 300,000 farm owners and rubber tappers.
RM250 per month in allowances for registered inland fishermen, an increase from the RM200 allowance given previously.
RM50 million in additional allocation to be paid out in December for Sabah’s Covid-19 fund to combat the pandemic. This is on top of RM50 million allocated to the National Disaster Management Agency (Nadma) on October 26 and some RM44 million spent by the Health Ministry in handling the most recent third wave of infections in Sabah.
RM80 million will be proposed to be set aside for an Agricultural Disaster Fund to provide assistance to farmers affected by natural disasters.
Special tax reduction of 6 per cent for landlords charging reduced rental rates to small, medium enterprises (SME) patronising their spaces. Minimum 30 per cent discount from original rate required from landlords to qualify for the tax exemption that will last until March 31.
To relook, study, and recalibrate the supposedly higher housing allowance rates enjoyed by civil servants based in Sabah and Sarawak, a rate last studied in 2002.