KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 27 — Targeted assistance will continue under the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) even though the country’s fiscal deficit now stands at about seven per cent, said Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department (Economy) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

He said part of the community should receive assistance and it was the government’s responsibility to help them.

“For those who are bedridden, unable to work, (and) people with serious disabilities, it is the government’s responsibility to protect their interests,” he told a press conference at the Parliament building here today.

When tabling the 12MP, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said targeted assistance such as cash handouts and social protection would be continued in an effort to help increase income and address the rising cost of living of B40 households as well as vulnerable groups.

Mustapa said based on the report, every year, the government spends around RM25 billion on various assistance, including through the Social Welfare Department, scholarships and subsidies.

Meanwhile, he said the development of a database combining all types of assistance obtained by each recipient was expected to be fully completed by the end of next month. — Bernama