Hard hit by pandemic, Sarawakians express relief in extension of BKSS aid

Masnah Jamin

MIRI (Oct 23): Members of the public are applauding the extension of seven measures under the Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang (BKSS) 4.0 until end of this year as announced by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg this morning.

A local trader, Masnah Jamin, said she was relieved that the discounts for water and electricity bills were extended until December, but hoped that the extension could go beyond that.

“I am grateful for the discounts, but with the poor economy affecting small-time traders like us, it would be better if the extension can go beyond that or until the pandemic is fully over,” she said.

Masnah, who runs a bridal service and makes ‘kelupis pandan’ for sale, said her business was badly affected by the pandemic and was yet to pick up momentum.

“It will take time to recover and we are all still struggling. We have bills and rent to pay. It is not easy for small time traders like us,” she said.

Even though there are loans for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to take up and help with their business recovery, Masnah said she was not eligible as there are too many requirements.

“I’m renting a shop in a privately owned premises to sell my kelupis and other products, so whatever rental waiver announced by our CM does not benefit me.

“I really hope the state government can come up with other types of financial assistance for small time traders like us, who are not eligible for SME loans and are not renting in premises owned by the local authority,” she said.

She added that such assistance can definitely help traders like her cover their rentals while their business slowly picks up or returns to normal.

Mohd Fazlie Rosli

A former e-hailing driver, Mohd Fazlie Rosli, said he was happy that there would be RM500 one-off assistant for e-hailing drivers.

“I’ve stopped doing e-hailing because of Covid-19. I have a weak immune system so I don’t want to risk it. But I’m happy that my friends who are still doing e-hailing will get this assistance,” he said.

He added that he was currently a runner for members of the public who needed delivery services, but the income was just enough to make ends meet.

“With the moratorium ending last month, I’m also struggling to find more jobs that can help me with my car instalments,” he said.

He added that among the seven measures which were extended, the one that benefited him most was the discounts on water and electricity bills and he is really thankful for it.

Meanwhile, a private sector employee, Angelina Lenny, said she was happy with the extension of discounts for water and electricity bills, but hoped the service could be improved further.

“I’m staying in Matang area, the problem here is our water service is always interrupted. Sometimes the water is murky.

“So even with the discounts, my family would still have to fork out extra money to buy bottled water when we have such problems.

“But I’m still thankful that the government has decided to extend the discounts until the end of the year. It’s better than nothing. It shows that our government is concerned with what the people are going through,” said Angelina, who had just started a job at an audit firm in Kuching.

She disclosed that she had been looking for jobs as her family was struggling to make ends meet since the pandemic started, and she could not depend on her husband alone to generate income for the family.

Angelina hoped that the BKSS measures could be extended even after December as people would still be struggling after that, with many already losing jobs and unable to put food on the table.

The post Hard hit by pandemic, Sarawakians express relief in extension of BKSS aid appeared first on Borneo Post Online.

Source: https://www.theborneopost.com/2020/10/23/hard-hit-by-pandemic-sarawakians-express-relief-in-extension-of-bkss-aid/