KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 — The Strategic Programme to Empower the People and Economy (Pemerkasa) launched today will have six initiatives to help vulnerable groups, people with disabilities, and those who lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who announced the initiatives today, said the first involved a one-off payment of RM500 to those in the B40 category who have lost their main source of income

“Also, an additional RM500 will be given to Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR) beneficiaries who earn less than RM1000 ringgit a month,” he said during a special address on Pemerkasa today.

He said the payments would be available to those aged between 21 and 60, and would not need an application process as the relevant validation would be done through the Inland Revenue Board,  Employees’ Provident Fund (EPF) and Social Security Organisation (Socso).

He added that the payments are planned to be released by June to the recipients’ bank accounts.

The government has also decided to allow bankrupts to apply for a bank account to receive government aid, by emailing the Department of Insolvency in charge of their case.

“Any cash assistance credited will not be subject to any monthly installment deductions,” said Muhyiddin.

He said the government has also decided to extend protection to those unable to fulfil their contractual obligation by March 31 to June 30, adding that the types of contracts involved will also be expanded.

To help the homeless, Muhyiddin said the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has established the Anjung Kelana as a temporary shelter in Taman Desa.

“Next, to reduce the cost of living, especially for the urban poor, the government has allocated RM100 million for a cashless assistance program used to buy kitchen items,” he said.

He also said that the government’s mySalam scheme that initiated to provide Covid-19 coverage has benefited over 70,000 people in the bottom 40 income percentile, known as the B40 group.

“To improve this scheme, those of the B40 group who were allowed to be quarantined at home because of Covid-19 are eligible to receive an income replacement payment of RM50 per day for a maximum of 14 days, subject to confirmation by a medical officer,” he said.

He also shared that RM30 million will be given to the [email protected] programme under DBKL, which provides a mobile clinic service covering residents in low-cost housing and public housing areas to help the poor, chronically ill and debilitated.

Additionally, the Social Welfare Department will appoint a total of 2,500 additional officers under the MySTEP initiative to ensure help reaches the needy.

To empower women entrepreneurs transition to an online marketplace,  Muhyiddin said the government will provide a RM30 million fund to the SME and Micro SME e-Commerce Campaign and the Malaysia Online Shop Programme.

 

He said the government-owned Bank Simpanan Nasional will also provide a total of RM50 million for the Pemerkasa-Nita Micro Financing Scheme to encourage women entrepreneurs to venture into business.

“Also, an allocation of RM10 million in the form of 70 percent matching funds, for women entrepreneurs and self-employed women under the Self-Employment Socso Scheme,” he said.

To help disabled workers, Muhyiddin said the Disabled Workers Allowance will be increased from RM1,200 to 1,500 ringgit per month, benefiting nearly 5,000 people under the OKU category — based on its Malay abbreviation of Orang Kurang Upaya.

He added that those in the OKU category will be allowed to register a business for free with the Companies Commission of Malaysia, and can access up to RM50,000 of financing under the Istimewa Microcredit Scheme, with interest rates as low as 3 per cent.

For the youth, Muhyiddin said the government will increase credit under the eBelia programme for those aged 18 to 20, from RM100 to RM150, starting from June.

Other programmes, such as the City Community Economic Empowerment programme, Bumiputera Youth Entrepreneur Buds, New Gen Entrepreneur Online Bootcamp have also been given funds to develop youth entrepreneurs.

Youths looking to start a business will also have access to funding of up to RM50,000, under the Pemerkasa-Belia Microfinance Scheme, with interest rates as low as 3 per cent.