Over 22,000 Sarawak hawkers given Covid-19 cash aid

Many hawkers have been badly hit by the economic fallout caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. – Foodadvisor photo.

By Chew Lip Song

THE Sarawak government has paid 22,613 eligible hawkers, operators of food stalls, lock-up stalls, markets, canteens, village shops, and barbers the Sarawakku Sayang Assistance Package to help them get through the economic headwinds caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Political secretary to chief minister Tan Kai said the government was still reviewing appeals by those who did not receive the cash aid.

“Based on the e-Local Authority System (eLA), there are 42,290 registered hawkers. Nonetheless, this list needs to be evaluated and verified as many licences have expired whilst others do not fit into any eligible sectors and categories,” he said in a statement yesterday, the Borneo Post reported.

Following the Ministry of Local Government and Housing’s checking with the eLA system and evaluation according to the eligibility of hawkers by type of sectors agreed by the state government, Tan said the initial batch of 12,129 hawkers had been verified as eligible recipients.

As for the unlicensed hawkers, the initial batch of 10,484 had been verified by the ministry as eligible to be paid.

“The verification of hawkers list is managed by the ministry and all local authorities. It was agreed that the payment will be managed by Sarawak Multimedia Authority (SMA) through Sarawak Pay except for those who have valid reasons not to use it (Sarawak Pay) such as those outside the internet coverage,” he said.

Those who haven’t received any payment, Tan said many of the verified hawkers were found to be operating in more than one local authority while others were found to have other branches that caused their eligibility for the assistance to be null and void.

He however said that detailed verification process by the local authorities was on-going, and once the verification process was completed, more hawkers were expected to be paid accordingly.

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