By Jack Lapidus
THE Sarawak government has unveiled a RM1.15 billion aid package to help mitigate the economic fallout from the Covid-19 outbreak.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Abang Openg who announced the “Sarawakku Sayang Special Aid Package” said there are 16 measures targeted at frontline personnel, households and the business communities impacted by this pandemic.
Here are the 16 measures:
- Domestic, Commercial and Industrial consumers will be given discount of 5% to 25% on their monthly electricity bill for April until September 2020. The discounts will benefit 686,847 users throughout Sarawak. The average cost for monthly electricity bill discount is RM27.8 million and the cumulative cost of discounts amounts to RM166.8 million. This special one-off discount of the electric bill will be borne by the Sarawak Government.
- Domestic, Commercial and Industrial consumers will be given discount of 10% to 25% on their monthly water bill for April until September 2020. This special one-off discounts will benefit 568,247 consumers throughout the State. The average cost for monthly water bill discount would be around RM4.2 million and the cumulative cost of discounts are RM25.26 million. The special one-off discount of the water bill will be borne by the Sarawak Government.
- Some 430,000 Sarawakian from the B40 group will be provided a monthly cash pay-out of RM250 for 6-months. This measure will cost Sarawak Government RM 645 million.
- Sarawak Government will provide special monthly incentives for 6-months:
(a) RM300 to 6,232 Medical doctors, nurses and medical personnel who are working tirelessly in hospitals and clinics throughout Sarawak.
(b) RM200 to 535 Immigration officers manning the entry points throughout Sarawak.
(c) RM200 to 3,395 PDRM and State Operations Room officers working around the clock to ensure safety and security of Sarawakians.
(d) RM200 to 590 Malaysian Arm Forces (ATM) personnel who are manning the borders and those helping the police in maintaining law and order.
(e) RM200 to 590 RELA Personnel who are working around the clock to ensure safety and security of neighbourhoods
These measures will cost Sarawak Government RM17.35 million.
- A discount of 50% for rental of market and stalls covering a period of six (6) months up to September 2020. This assistance is expected to benefit more than 10,000 hawkers renting the market and stalls particularly under the purview of the Local Councils.
- Sarawak Government will provide waiver of permits and licenses fees to traders, hawkers, night market traders, Tamu and bazaar Ramadhan operations. The waiver will benefit over 2 million permits and licensed holders in the various local authorities throughout Sarawak. This will ease the burden of the rakyat that will cost Sarawak Government RM8.24 million for the year 2020.
- A discount of 25% on annual assessment rate above RM400 threshold will be given to residential, commercial, industrial and special purpose holdings for the year 2020. This measure will benefit more than 185,000 premises. This will ease the burden of the rakyat and business owners and cost Sarawak government RM74.58 million in 2020.
- As a measure to ease the SMEs cash flow and lessen their financial burden, Sarawak Government has decided to defer the loan repayment for 9 months effective from April 2020. This will benefit 144 outstanding borrowers of Skim Pinjaman Industri Kecil dan Sederhana (SPIKS). This will improve cash flow of SMEs amounting to RM1.3 million.
- On top of existing RM30 million micro-credit funds, Sarawak Government will offer additional RM20 million for SMEs to expand their business and to sustain their businesses.
- A 30% discounts for payments of land rents to all land uses for the year 2020. These measures will benefit 52,403 commercials, industrial, residential, large scale plantations and other public facilities. This will ease the burden of the rakyat and will cost Sarawak government RM11.84 million.
- One-off Deferment payment for land premium for the year 2020 will benefit 1,721 stakeholders across Sarawak, which includes Agriculture, residential, commercial and industrial units as well as private and public institutions.
- A one-off waiver for Hotel licensing fees for 17,289 Hotel Rooms throughout Sarawak for the year 2020. The incentive will benefit over 340 Hoteliers and lodging houses. This will cost Sarawak Government RM386,630.
- Sarawak Government have placed an order of 2 million pieces face masks to be distributed free to Sarawakians through the State Disaster Management Committee.
- Providing dedicated support to physicians and practitioners on the front lines of testing, diagnosing, and treating patients at risk of COVID-19. Costs include acquiring personal protective equipment (PPE) and other supplies. This will cost Sarawak Government RM10 Million.
- Providing dedicated supports of food supplies to physicians and practices on the front lines of testing, diagnosing, and treating patients at risk of COVID-19. This will cost Sarawak Government RM1 Million.
- A discount of 50% for rental of Housing Development Corporation (HDC) Houses rental scheme covering a period of six months up to September 2020. This assistance is expected to benefit more than 3,200 customers renting HDC houses throughout Sarawak.
The package is a balanced people and business centric model to cushion the impact of economic slowdown due to COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, this is over and above of the continuous efforts to steer Sarawak economy towards a developed state by 2030.