KUALA LUMPUR: The government’s new relief aid scheme Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR) will be extended to include single persons who are 21 years or older, according to a finance ministry official.
Johan Mahmood Merican, director of the National Budget Office, said registrations for the scheme will open in January, enabling those who are eligible but who have not previously registered to apply for cash assistance.
The BPR scheme replaces the current Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH). The new scheme has been provided an allocation of RM6.5 billion and is expected to benefit 8.1 million people, compared to BSH with RM5 billion for 4.3 million beneficiaries.
Johan said the BPR assistance includes the reintroduction of the category for single individuals who are 21 years old, compared with 40 years old as in the last scheme.
“The government thinks that it is appropriate for us to return to the previous situation during the implementation of the Bantuan Rakyat 1 Malaysia (BR1M) where it was open to single individuals aged 21 years and above,” he told reporters today.
Under the BPR scheme, households with a monthly income of less than RM2,500 and one child will receive assistance of RM1,200, while those with two or more children will receive RM1,800.
Households with a monthly income of between RM2,501 and RM4,000 and one child will receive assistance of RM800, while those with two or more children will receive RM1,200.
Households with a monthly income of between RM4,001 and RM5,000, with one child, will receive RM500 while those with two or more children will receive RM750.
Single people earning RM2,500 and below, and aged 21 and above will receive an assistance of RM350.
Johan said the government was also prepared to increase the allocation if applications for the assistance exceed the number of those who are eligible.
Asked to comment about claims that the M40 (middle 40%) group was disappointed with the budget, which had concentrated more on the B40 (bottom 40%), he explained that it was the government’s priority to help those in dire need, especially households that are living in abject poverty.
“But that does not mean the government is neglecting the M40. Besides the tax rate reduction of one percentage point for individuals with taxable income ranging from RM50,001 to RM70,000, there are also a number of tax reliefs for the M40 such as the increase in tax relief limit for lifestyle, from RM2,500 to RM3,000.
“For those who have to bear medical costs for their parents, the tax relief has been increased from RM5,000 to RM8,000. With regard to tax relief for medical treatment, the scope has been expanded to cover vaccination costs of up to RM1,000. Also, the relief for health screening has been increased from RM500 to RM1,000,” Johan said.