Lee (centre) with others posing with recipients of the RM500 one-off aid for penampang at Kuching Waterfront.
KUCHING: A total of 199 ‘penambang’ or boat operators across Sarawak will receive their RM500 one-off financial aid pledged under Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang (BKSS) 3.0, says Transport Minister Datuk Lee Kim Shin.
He said the Sarawak government had set aside a total of RM99,500 for such financial aid for boat operators, who had suffered loss of income during the Movement Control Order (MCO) and Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) period.
“During the MCO and CMCO, the penambang are suffering loss of income due to the drastic drop in number of customers including tourists.
“Therefore, the provision of RM500 one-off financial assistance to each penambang by the state government will benefit and lighten the financial burden of 199 penambang involving an expenditure of RM99,500,” he said during a symbolic cheque handover ceremony held at the Kuching Waterfront here today.
The one-off financial aid for penambang was pledged by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg during the May 8 announcement on the RM300 million BKSS 3.0 for Sarawakians during these trying times.
It is one of the seven measures by the Sarawak government to assist Sarawakians during the MCO period.
The RM500 aid is for ‘penambang’ who are registered with the Sarawak Rivers Board (SRB).
Lee said of the total recipients, 175 were from Territory I covering Kuching, Samarahan, Serian, Sri Aman and Betong with a total amount of RM37,500; 13 from Territory II covering Sibu, Sarikei, Mukah and Kapit (RM6,500); and 11 from Territory III covering Bintulu, Miri and Limbang (RM5,500).
He said his ministry and SRB would continue to monitor the situation and development of the water transportation services in the state during this CMCO period.
As such, he urged all the relevant parties especially the riverine transport operators as well as riverine transport users to give full support and cooperation to the government to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the interest of all Sarawakians.
He also thanked the Sarawak government and Abang Johari for his understanding and concern on the predicament faced by boat operators during this difficult time by approving the RM500 one-off financial assistance.
“I would also like to wish ‘Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri’ to all Muslim friends and ‘Selamat Hari Gawai, Gayu Guru Gerai Nyamai’ to all Dayak friends,” added Lee.
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