RM285.47 mln in aid for pandemic-hit Sarawakians

KUCHING: Sarawakians affected by the Covid-19 pandemic will continue to be assisted under the Sarawak government’s Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang (BKSS) 8.0 packages.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg made this announcement during the special meeting on the 2022 State Budget with Sarawakian lawmakers at Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (BCCK) here on Tuesday (Oct 12).

“For 2022, my administration has decided to continue with some of the key initiatives under BKSS 8.0 worth RM285.47 million covering the first six months of next year as well as a one-off financial assistance,” he said.

Under the initiatives, he said there would be an electricity bill discount of RM166.8 million for 647,000 beneficiaries and also a water bill discount of RM24 million for beneficiaries.

“In addition, there will also be a 50 percent rental discount of RM2.6 million for 3,200 tenants, and a waiver of rentals of SMEs in retail sector operation on premises owned by state government-linked companies (GLCs) of RM2 million,” he said.

Abang Johari added that there would be a 50 percent discount for rentals of market and stalls belonging to the local authorities amounting to RM1.7 million for 10,165 tenants.

“A one-off incentive of RM500 will be given to 1,725 owners and operators of river taxis registered with the Sarawak Rivers Board (SRB), licensed van operators, taxi drivers, school bus and van operators in Sarawak amounting to RM0.87 million.

“This includes a one-off special grant of RM1,000 to 87,500 hawkers and petty traders through Sarawak Pay of RM87.5 million,” he said.

The chief minister added that in response to the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, the state government had stepped forward with unprecedented direct and indirect financial support through BKSS 1.0 to BKSS 7.0 in 2020 and 2021 worth RM5.3 billion with more than 30 measures that had been implemented.