PM announces RM250 billion rescue plan in ‘war against invisible forces’

Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin speaks in a live telecast today. (Bernama pic)

PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin today announced an economic stimulus package of RM250 billion to cushion the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak, more than 10 times the RM20 billion allocated by his predecessor Dr Mahathir Mohamad last month.

This comprises RM128 billion for the people’s welfare, RM100 billion for businesses and SMEs, and RM2 billion to strengthen the economy, aside from the RM20 billion announced in the previous package.

“As I have said, no one will be left behind,” he said in a live telecast, adding that the government’s focus is to curb the spread of Covid-19.

“We are a nation at war with invisible forces,” he said.

“The situation we are now facing is unprecedented in history. This government may not be the government that you voted for. But I want all of you to know that this government cares for you.

“I accept the fact that I came in as your prime minister not at the best moment. I am facing political, economic and health crises all at the same time.”

He said an additional RM1 billion would be allocated to the health ministry on top of the RM500 million previously announced while assistance would be sought from private hospitals.

He also said the special allowances to doctors, nurses and health workers on the front line of RM400 to RM600 per month would continue from April 1 until the crisis is resolved.

He also said the special allowance of RM200 for army and police personnel as well as customs and Rela staff involved on the front line would continue.

Others include:

  • RM200 per month for customs, immigration and Rela personnel involved in the movement control order (MCO) beginning April 1.
  • One-off payments totalling RM10 billion for the M40 group, farmers, small businesses in the private sector, Felda settlers and fishermen.
  • RM1,600 for four million households earning RM4,000 and below with RM1,000 paid in April and RM600 paid in May.
  • RM800 for three million people aged 21 and above earning RM2,000 and below, with RM500 to be paid in April and RM300 to be paid in May.
  • RM1,000 for 1.1 million households earning RM4,000 to RM8,000, with RM500 paid in April and the balance in May.
  • RM500 for 400,000 singles aged 21 with an income of RM2,000 to RM4,000 with RM250 paid in April and RM250 paid in May.
  • One-off payment of RM200 in May for students at higher education institutions.
  • RM25 million for food and shelter for senior citizens, OKU and Orang Asli, in cooperation with NGOs.
  • Six-month moratorium on PTPTN and PTPK payments.
  • Six-month rent exemption for PPR and public housing residents.
  • Patients under MySalam can claim RM50 per day for 14 days. This can also apply to those who are quarantined because of Covid-19.
  • B40 group in cities exempted from paying rent for six months. Total cost of RM3 million to be borne by government.
  • Rent exemptions for buildings belonging to the government for six months beginning April.
  • RM600 per month for three months for workers earning below RM4,000 whose companies’ income dropped more than 50% since Jan 1.
  • Employers are not allowed to cut the pay of staff earning less than RM4,000 a month. This will benefit 3.3 million workers through a RM5.9 billion allocation.
  • RM60 million for one-off payments of RM500 for 120,000 e-hailing drivers.
  • RM110 million to pay wages of more than 80,000 contract workers involved in cleaning and catering services at schools, public universities, public training institutions and other government agencies. Government has also agreed to extend their contract period for another month as a trade-off for the MCO.
  • Special RM8 million fund created by the insurance and takaful industry to bear the screening costs of policy and medical takaful insurance holders at private hospitals and laboratories at RM300 per person.
  • Putrajaya and Tenaga Nasional Bhd will allocate an additional RM530 million for electricity bill discounts, with usage below 200 kilowatt eligible for 50% discount, 25% for 201 to 300 kilowatt usage and 15% for 301 to 600 kilowatt. 2% discount for households to continue.
  • EPF to provide consultation services for employers beginning April 15. These include the option of payment deferment, restructuring and rescheduling of employers’ contributions. This will ensure cash flow savings of RM10 billion for employers and benefit 480,000 SMEs and companies while saving more than eight million jobs.
  • Exclusion of levy payments to Human Resource Development Fund for all sectors for six months beginning April. This will save employers RM440 million.
  • Telecommunication companies will offer free internet worth RM600 million to all customers from April until the end of the MCO. An additional RM400 million will be used to improve network coverage and strength.
  • RM500 one-off payment for 1.5 million public servants and 850,000 government retirees in April.
  • Three-month moratorium of income tax payment for 750,000 SMEs starting April 1.
  • Six-month deferment of taxes for tourism sector.
  • Moratorium extended to Tekun, Mara and other government-related agencies that give loans to SMEs.
  • Government to introduce new social financing programme aid for B40 businesses and those who have lost their source of income through Islamic banking institutions and state Islamic councils. Those who qualify will be given training.
  • Corporate sector to receive a new initiative under a guarantee scheme worth RM50 billion for sectors affected by Covid-19.
  • Minimum loan of RM20 million for business sector available from May 1 to Dec 31 or until the fund ends.
  • RM2 billion for small-scale projects such as the upkeep of old schools in Sabah and Sarawak, Felda projects and assistance for the poor.
  • ECRL and MRT2 projects to continue.
  • RM4.5 billion allocated by Putrajaya and Bank Negara Malaysia to aid SMEs, especially micro-entrepreneurs. This includes additional special relief facilities worth RM3 billion for SMEs, with interest rates  reduced from 3.75% to 3.5%.
  • RM1 billion to be added under funds for all economic facilities and RM500 million to be added under micro-credit scheme. Managed by Bank Simpanan Nasional, this scheme will offer a 2% interest rate without collateral and is open to all micro-entrepreneurs in all sectors.
  • SMEs which have been operating for fewer than four years can make use of up to RM300,000 financing from the BizMula-i and BizWanita-i Syarikat Jaminan Kredit Malaysia Berhad (CGC) schemes.
  • Syarikat Jaminan Pembiayaan Perniagaan (SJPP) to prepare RM5 billion worth of guarantees and increase the guarantee rate from 70% to 80% for SMEs having trouble in getting loans.
  • Income tax payment for SMEs deferred for three months from April.
  • All ministries instructed to review their budgets to cut costs.