KUCHING: The Sarawakku Sayang Special Assistance (BKSS) programme demonstrates the state government’s concern for the welfare of the people, particularly those who have been severely affected by the pandemic.
Among the assistances provided under BKSS 6.0 include cash aid for B40 households, six-month allowance for frontline workers, assistance to small traders and hawkers, ‘e-hailing’ drivers and tourism industry players.
Many people have been affected by the implementation of movement control order (MCO), some have lost their source of income as a result of standard operating procedures (SOPs) that limit the operations of certain businesses and services.
Catherine Lina Matahari, a retired health worker, has created a small business selling food products by the roadside to boost her income and put food on the table for her family.
“BKSS 6.0 helps to relieve some financial pressure as well as housing needs and for me, it is very tough, my saving is decreasing, and I am only relying on my pension which can be very stressful.
“We in Sarawak, in particular, should be grateful because our leaders care about the state’s socio-economic and global health, apart from assisting us during this time of need,” she said.
Geraldine Mira, a frontline worker at the Pusat Jantung Sarawak and mother of five children, is grateful and still afford a smile despite her hectic work schedule.
“Since the government announced the BKKS aid package last May, it has been assisting with my household, especially during this crisis when most things are done online.
“All of my children attend home-based Teaching and Learning (PdPR), and on top of that, the cost of internet is quite high, so I can’t really rely on my monthly salary.
“I do food business such as local cuisine as a side income, and my advice to people who are struggling is to remain cheerful and never give up.”
Unis Ginda, a single mother, retired nurse, and director of BME Brandah Sendiri Berhad, praised the local leaders for their concern towards the people of Sarawak as well as the assistance provided under BKSS 6.0 package.
She stated that she needed to restructure her strategy and rebuild her firm in order to maintain balance during this period of economic downturn in which all economic sectors are affected.
“BKSS inspires us to move and recover our business and tax cycle during this difficult moment, which is why I am extremely grateful to the government’s compassion for the people of Sarawak.
“I also hope that this aid would be extended later, particularly to SMEs, because repairing and stabilising the economy require time.”
Simpang Meluan village head Lawas Nili, described BKSS 6.0 as a motivator for people living in the interior to maintain their daily routines while also helping with her children’s education.
Lawas stated that most residents in rural areas, were a little behind in terms of information availability and hoped that the authorities would conduct an ‘outreach programme’ so that no individual or household would be left out.
“I sincerely hope that the support this time will be more extensive; there may be individuals or families who failed to register for BKSS online or fill out the prior manual form who should reconsider their application, particularly citizens who do not yet have a personal identification.
“The application process and distribution of assistance should also be simplified and adapted to the local situation, such as simple registration, distribution of assistance in cash/food baskets as well as providing more automatic teller machine (ATM) facilities.
“The BKSS aid package clearly demonstrates that the Sarawak government is able to satisfy the needs of the people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.”