Extend Prihatin aid to all in need, says Zahid

Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi says there should be no limit to the amount of funds under the Prihatin aid scheme.

PETALING JAYA: Umno president Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has called on the government to extend its Bantuan Prihatin Nasional (BPN) aid  to more Malaysians.

Noting that Bank Negara Malaysia had said yesterday the unemployment rate is set to rise, Zahid said providing wider coverage under the Prihatin scheme would help the newly unemployed, boost consumer demand and restart an economy recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Do not set the amount of funds for this assistance to certain limits. It is crucial that the government ensures that no one in need is left out,” he said on his Facebook account today,

“The government will not be at a loss if it has to spend extra money on the people, and many will benefit.”

Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz had announced last week that the ministry will give out an additional RM1.7 billion under the scheme to 2.3 million new applications and appeals.

The total number of Prihatin recipients currently stands at 10.6 million, with a total disbursement of RM11 billion – an increase of RM1 billion on the initial allocation of RM10 billion.

Those who failed to receive relief funds from the programme have until May 31 to file an appeal with the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN), which said that among the reasons applicants were rejected were having an income higher than the limit and not meeting conditions such as age or status as full-time students.

Zahid noted that LHDN had rejected more than 1 million people for the Prihatin aid scheme, with more than 450,000 of those rejected because the applicant or spouse owned a company registered with the Companies Commission of Malaysia.

He hoped that all reasonable appeals would be considered and approved, adding that money in the hands of the people would be spent on businesses, which would then send a signal to factories to resume operations and restore business confidence in the country.

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