By Karen Bong
KUCHING, May 8: Financial assistance totalling RM97.7 million under Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang 1.0 (BKSS 1.0) has been credited to the accounts of 391,037 eligible lower-income B40 recipients.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg, in reporting the progress of the last two packages of BKSS, informed that for 15,206 recipients that did not have bank accounts, the fund was made available to Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) on April 17 onwards for cash claims.
He stated that the measures introduced in BKSS 1.0 and 2.0 have provided much-needed relief to individuals and businesses who were bearing the disruption and challenges caused by Covid-19.
“The measures include cash handouts, loan repayment deferment, interest-free soft loan for SMEs, monthly incentives for frontline personnel and discount of utility bills for consumers in Sarawak,” he told a press conference to announce additional measures under BKSS 3.0 today.
Abang Johari also reported that a sum of RM3.2 million was credited to 12,856 frontliners’ accounts involving personnel from the Ministry of Health, Immigration Department, Malaysia Armed Forces and police force on April 27.
On exemption of permits and licenses fees for traders, hawkers, night market traders and Tamu as well as a discount of 50 per cent for rental of market and stalls effective from April 1 until Sept 30, he revealed that more than 10,000 hawkers renting markets and stalls particularly under the purview of the local authorities have benefited.
“In addition, two million free face masks had been distributed to the people since April 17 while 8,575 flat tenants of Housing Development Corporation (HDC) have benefitted from the waiver of rentals since April 2020.
“A total of 28,377 households and their 85,000 extended families have benefitted from HDC moratorium on all housing loan, longhouses loan repayments and maintenance charges for housing projects for six months since April 2020,” he added.
As for small and medium entrepreneurs in Sarawak, he pointed out that 144 SMEs have benefitted from the deferment of Skim Pinjaman Industri Kecil dan Sederhana (SPIKS) loan starting April 2020.
“A total of 1,800 hawkers and petty traders registered with local authorities have received the first tranche of the special grant through Sarawak Pay as at April 30; while there were 366 applications received under Sarawak Micro Credit Scheme with fund requirement amounting to RM14.48 million,” he said.
Abang Johari emphasised that there was an overwhelming response by over 3,000 SMEs across Sarawak have resulted to an over-subscription of BKSS 2.0 SME Special Relief Fund’s programme amounted over RM1.3 billion.
“The approvals to-date recorded over RM500 million with remaining applications are pending Bank Negara’s approvals,” he added. —DayakDaily