Sarawak government disburses RM745.6 million for BKSS 2020 programme

Wisma Bapa Malaysia in Petra Jaya houses the Chief Minister's Office (file pic)

KUCHING, July 17: The Sarawak government has distributed and paid out a total of RM745.6 million in cash, out of the RM1,451.9 million expenditure for Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang (BKSS) 2020 programme.

The programme, labelled as BKSS 1.0, BKSS 2.0 and BKSS 3.0 is the state’s initiative particularly for eligible B40 household earning below RM4,000 per month; eligible single Sarawakians age 21 and above earning below RM2,000 per month; and other BKSS cash payment incentives .

On March 23, the Sarawak government has announced 16 measures for BKSS 1.0 followed by four measures for BKSS 2.0 on April 10, and eight measures under BKSS 3.0 on May 8 to benefit all Sarawakians.

According to Chief Minister’s Office in a statement today, the main objectives of BKSS 2020 were mainly to address the pain points of societal needs as well as industries needs across level of societal classes and scale of business entities during the Covid-19 pandemic crisis.

“The measures included cash handout, low repayment deferment, interest-free soft loan for SMEs, monthly incentive for frontline personnel, and discounts on utility bills for consumers in Sarawak.

“All these initiatives have benefited targeted groups. Sarawak government also received a lot of positive feedback from the recipients of the assistance which have enable the rakyat to lighten their financial burden and sustain their businesses and livelihood,” the statement said.

However, the Sarawak Government also received some negative comments and concerns from the people who feel that they deserved the assistance but have not received it.

Explaining the details on how incentives for eligible B40 household earning below RM4,000 were being implemented, the statement said the total number of eligible household is 369,139.

“This number includes those listed in Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) 2019 which is 406,234 recipients of B40 household and 369,139 recipients of updated B40 household including appeals to Inland Revenue Board (LHDN).

“406,234 of B40 household recipients based on BSH 2019 list have received payment with a total expenditure of RM304.68 million whereas 78,123 of B40 household based on updated BSH 2020 list have not received payment.

“This number also include approved 28,372 of B40 household appeal through district offices and online system. Therefore, the 78,123 of B40 household will be paid end of July 2020 with an estimated expenditure of RM117.18 million,” it said.

As for the implementation of BKSS incentive for eligible single Sarawakians age above 21 and earning below RM2,000 per month, the total number of eligible BKSS B40 single is 419,395 recipients.

This number includes those listed in BSH 2019 and BSH 2020 as per updated list and appeal to LHDN.

“A total of 114,683 of B40 single recipients have received payment with a total expenditure of RM57.21 million. The other 270,863 B40 single have not received payment. This number also includes approved 127,819 B40 single appeal through district offices and online system.

“Therefore, the remaining 270,863 of B40 single will be paid end of July 2020 with an estimated expenditure of RM135.43 million,” it added.

Meanwhile, for BKSS cash payment incentives, the Special Monthly Incentives for 29,464 front line personnel involved in Covid-19 operations have received the payment incentives for RM200 per month for the period of April to June 2020 with a total expenditure of RM12.64 million.

These frontliners include those from Health Department (KKM), Immigration Department (JIM), Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), State Operations Room, Malaysian Armed Force (ATM), Malaysian Volunteer Corps Department (Rela), Fire and Rescue Department (Bomba), Customs Department, Civil Defence Force (APM) and the media.

Meanwhile, a total of 15,829 hawkers and petty traders are eligible for assistance after verification by the local authorities.

Out of a total 15,829 hawkers and petty traders, 9,623 have been paid through Sarawak Pay and 6,206 hawkers paid through Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN).

As for incentive for owners and operators of penambang registered with Sarawak River Board (SRB), a total of 149 penambang have been paid with the total expenditure amounting RM74,500.

Another 17 penambang applications are still pending payment and 33 pending verification from LHDN.

Incentive for license van operators, taxi drivers and school bus or van operators in Sarawak were not left out as well.

To-date, a total of 840 taxi drivers have received incentives with total expenditure of RM504,000 while another 74 are pending verification from Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB).

As for licensed van operators, 257 are still pending verification from CVLB while 384 school bus or van operators are still pending payment.

Special grant to 236 license tourist and park guide were also given, with total expenditure of RM354,000.

Meanwhile, the statement also clarified that the first list for BKSS incentive for Eligible B40 household was based on BSH 2019 as that was the only list available from LHDN.

Thus, there were many complaints by some that they are eligible for BKSS but not listed.

Additionally, there were also requests from single Sarawakians for the assistance as they were also affected by the pandemic.

“In response, the Sarawak government allowed Sarawakians to appeal for both eligible B40 Household and B40 single which was closed on May 31.

“On June 19, we received the BSH 2020 list of 369,139 eligible B40 households and 419,395 eligible B40 single Sarawakians from LHDN.

“Subsequently, we are able to verify the appeal list to accommodate those who were eligible but not listed in BKSS for both 53,472 B40 households and 147,501 B40 single Sarawakians.

“A total of RM80.21 million for B40 households and RM73.75 million for B40 single Sarawakians will be paid end of July 2020,” the statement added.-DayakDaily