MIRI: Mirians from various strata of the society interviewed welcomed the RM250 billion Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package (Prihatin) announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.
Academician Karambir Singh credited the Prime Minister for overseeing the nation facing such a multitude of problems and introducing the comprehensive package benefiting all segments of society and economic sectors in the country.
“Our PM’s ‘no one will be left behind’ RM250 billion Economic package must be applauded and fully supported in these devastating times.
“It is now imperative all the measures are implemented quickly with a minimum amount of bureaucracy. The affected parties must now be informed how to access the economic aid with the minimum of fuss,” said Karambir who is also the Miri Indian Association president and Miri City councillor.
Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak secretary Senator Alan Ling and Dayak Bidayuh Nasional Association (DBNA) president Captain Bernard Idit concurred with Karambir on the need for the government to ensure that the people are able to get the assistance speedily.
Ling said to ensure the help provided reaches the people, a lot of preparations need to be done from advisory (answering queries) to even logistics so that people from near and far do benefit.
“I would also suggest the government through MOF set up a hotline, make sure they have sufficient and knowledgeable staff to man the hotlines to answer queries from the people, hotlines can be in the form of email and telephone.
“If possible and practicable, MOF can get volunteers from audit firms or fellow accountants to be consultants but, before this, the professionals need to be briefed in depth,” said Ling who is also Pakatan Harapan (PH) Sarawak secretary and DAP National Youth Wing assistant secretary-general.
Bernard wants to see that people particularly those in the rural areas benefit.
“My real concern is the needy families especially those in rural parts of Sarawak or Sabah. I believe that many are not included in the government’s data base.
“Besides with poor communications networks in rural area and the current movement control order, how would the state governments expedite efforts in channelling the assistance to the people,” he asked.
The Prime Minister, when announcing the package, said it will bring benefit to the people and all quarters affected by the Covid-19 crisis.
The package included RM128 billion set aside to protect the welfare and well-being of the people while RM100 billion to help all businesses including Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) affected by the global pandemic.
Another RM25 million is to help people who are vulnerable to the adverse impact of Covid-19 on the economy.
Captain Bernard Idit
“The government will help people who are vulnerable, including senior citizens and children at welfare homes; people with different abilities or OKU; homeless and orang asal community,” said the prime minister adding that the government will work closely with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and social entrepreneurs to provide assistance like food supply, healthcare items and shelter to this group of people.
Lower income (B40) and middle-income (M40) families are set to receive cash handouts totalling RM10 billion while for four million households earning less than RM4,000 a month, RM1,600 will be made available in two payments with RM1,000 paid in the month of April and RM600 in May
For some three million unmarried individuals, above the age of 21, who earn less than RM2,000 a month, RM800 will be made available with RM500 to be paid in April and the rest in May.
Those earning more than RM2,000 monthly will receive RM500 and payment will be split equally between the months of April and May.
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