Malaysia's Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced on Wednesday (23 September) an additional special assistance package to tide the country through the pandemic. 

Known as Kita Prihatin, the package targets the following groups of Malaysians:

  1. Employees in various fields
  2. Micro business groups in various sector
  3. B40 families and singles
  4. M40 families and singles

Here's all you need to know about the package - which includes a second wage subsidy scheme, a special grant for SMEs, and more.

Wage Subsidy Programme 2.0 introduced for companies that are still affected by COVID-19

According to the PM, the earlier two Prihatin packages - one announced in March and one in April - have provided a total of RM15.3mn to fund the country's wage subsidy programme, benefiting up to 3.3mn employees.

As of 11 September 2020, a total of 2.63mn employees and more than 321,000 employers have benefited from this wage subsidy which involves an allocation of RM10.4bn. Applications for this round will end on 1 September 2020.

Following this, PM Muhyiddin noted that while most companies are now able to continue operating during the Recovery Movement Control order (RMCO), companies in certain sectors such as the tourism sector may still be affected. 

Thus, the Government will introduce the Wage Subsidy Programme 2.0, in order to help these companies. 

The programme will run as follows:

  • First: wage subsidies will be given to employers who are still affected, i.e. companies that, since the RMCO started, still face a revenue reduction of at least 30% compared to last year.
  • Second: wage subsidies will be given for up to three months at a rate of RM600 per month for each employee, up to a maximum of 200 employees.

 Applications for this second round will open from 1 October up until 31 December 2020.

Apart from the above, PM Muhyiddin further noted that some companies may not have been eligible for the first round of the programme as they did not meet the eligibility requirements registered with SOCSO before 1 April 2020.

In helping this group, this new round of the programme will now be open to companies registered with SOCSO until 31 August 2020. New applicants who did not receive assistance under the first round will be eligible for wage subsidy for up to six months. 

The implementation of Wage Subsidy Programme 2.0 is expected to benefit 1.3mn employees and involve an allocation of RM 2.4bn.

Special Prihatin Grant to re-open for applications 

In addition to the above, PM Muhyiddin also announced the re-opening of applications for the Special Prihatin Grant (GKP), targeted at micro businesses who were eligible yet unable to receive assistance in the first round of the Grant. This group must either be registered or hold a license with the Companies Commission of Malaysia, or the local authorities, up until 31 August 2020. 

First announced in April, the GKP has thus far benefited 545,000 micro businesses nationwide, costing the Government a total of RM1.63bn. With its re-opening, which will run from 1 October to 31 October 2020, it is now expected to benefit more than 200,000 micro businesses with an allocation of almost RM600mn; payments will be made from 25 November 2020. 

Bantuan Prihatin Nasional Aid 2.0 to aid B40 and M40 households

Taking into account all the difficulties still faced by the locals in this period, the Government will be providing additional assistance under Bantuan Prihatin Nasional Aid 2.0 (BNP 2.0), with an allocation of almost RM7bn.

This amount will be channelled to the relevant groups as follows:

The amount of assistance that will be channeled under BPN 2.0 is as follows:

  • RM1,000 to 3.7mn B40 households;
  • RM500 to 3.8mn single B40 groups;
  • RM600 to almost 1.4mn M40 households; and
  • RM300 to 1.7mn single M40 groups

 The payments will be made in two installments - the first at the end of October 2020 and the second, in January 2021. For the B40 group, the first installment payment in October will be RM700 and the second, in January 2021, will be RM300.

These groups need not apply to receive the assistance. Instead, the aid will be channelled directly to the 10.6mn recipients who have previously been approved under the BPN. For those who are eligible but have never received BPN, the Government will provide opportunities for new appeals and applications.

All special initiatives under Kita Prihatin will cost the Government a total of RM10bn.

Lead image / Screenshot of PM Muhyiddin's televised address 

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