Use ‘underutilised’ RM400 mil MySalam to fight Covid-19, says Najib

Najib Razak says only about RM21 million has been paid out to recipients under the MySalam scheme. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: Former prime minister Najib Razak has called on the public and government to make full use of the “underutilised” MySalam scheme which costs taxpayers RM400 million a year to fight the spread of Covid-19.

Najib, who had previously criticised the Pakatan Harapan-era scheme, said only 9,662 (0.22%) of some 4.3 million people in the B40 group benefitted from the scheme involving RM13.7 million in claims last year.

He said the scheme, which gives recipients cash assistance for critical illnesses and replacement income, was expanded this year to cover those who had lost their income due to hospitalisation or quarantine because of Covid-19.

But, he said, the amount of claims for Covid-19 cases as of July 5 stood at RM1.26 million, benefitting 2,124 people, while the overall claims under MySalam stood at RM20.8 million, involving 16,893 recipients.

This meant that after half a year, the people have received only RM20.8 million in benefits although the government has pumped RM400 million into the scheme.

“That is why I hope government agencies, elected representatives as well as Barisan Nasional and Perikatan Nasional grassroot leaders will explain this scheme to the people and help them to make their claims,” he said.

Najib said he was worried that some in the B40 category, particularly daily wage earners, are avoiding screening or quarantine for fear of losing their income.

“For this group, losing a day of work means losing their income for a day. As long as people are not willing to be screened, the chain of infection within the community cannot be broken.”

This, he said, was why it was important for the community to know that they can be compensated should they be treated or quarantined because of Covid-19.

“Tell them they do not have to be afraid of being screened if the basis of their fears is losing their income.

“The government and the people should not waste the RM400 million paid by the previous PH administration as the beneficiary would be a big Singapore insurance company,” he said, in reference to the company administering the MySalam scheme.

He said Putrajaya must take stern action against the company if it refuses to entertain legitimate claims or delays paying out the claims.