KOTA KINABALU, Dec 21 — A total of 2,144,408 Sabahans affected by the Covid-19 pandemic in the state received financial assistance from both the state and federal governments, said Sabah Covid-19 spokesman Datuk Masidi Manjun.
The current population of Sabah is estimated to be 3.91 million.
The federal government aid came in the form of Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH2020), Bantuan Prihatin Nasional (BPN), a special grant for small and medium industries, a wage subsidy for employers and Covid-19 special allowance for frontliners.
“Meanwhile, aid from the state government came in the form of food baskets, one-off RM300 payouts, assistance for higher learning students, waiver of stall rental and permit licence fees for hawkers as well as waivers for people’s housing project (PPR) rental,” he said in the State Assembly today.
Masidi also said that the government has spent RM140.3 million of the RM160 million allocation given by the state, and RM14.04 million of the RM50 million allocated by the federal government in the third wave of the pandemic, which began in October.
Of the sum, RM30.16 million were spent on 301,327 food baskets, which is 96 per cent of its distribution.
RM100.92 million was spent on RM300 one-off handouts to 336,428 people in the agriculture, tourism, transport and small business category, RM951,917 was spent on 2,574 tertiary education students, RM1.37 million on RM1,000 one-off assistance to micro and cottage entrepreneurs in Sabah and another RM2 million of RM4,000 one-off assistance to 500 tourism and tour companies in the state.
Sabah has been one of the worst-hit states in the pandemic, following its September 26 snap elections. As of December 20, 34,478 cases were reported in the state, of which 31,887 or 92.5 per cent, are considered recovered.
Meanwhile, Tourism, Culture and Environment Minister Datuk Jafry Ariffin said the state has continued to promote domestic tourism throughout the pandemic, mostly through digital platforms.
“Since March 2020, the Sabah Tourism Board has promoted the state on the online MATTA fair, MITA e-Travel fair, Weddings Malaysia Virtual Fair and Go Lokal Online Fair.
“The state also organised ‘fam trips’ for bloggers, influencers, media and travel agents with pamphlets and videos regarding Standard Operating Procedure,” he said, adding that they are also working with the Malaysian Association of Hotels members and tourism agents on digital campaigns and have an ongoing collaboration with Malaysia Airlines and AirAsia.
“To continue domestic tourism promotion into 2021, STB will conduct promotional campaigns starting this month, including via various online competitions.
“We also have a strategic collaboration with airlines to promote new domestic routes namely Kuala Terengganu to Kota Kinabalu via AirAsia and Penang to Kota Kinabalu via Firefly, slated to commence in the first quarter of next year,” he said.