KUCHING: The Sarawak government announced the latest assistant package, Sarawakku Sayang Special Assistance (BKSS) 8.0 package worth RM285.47 million, which encompasses seven measures to assist the people during the current Phase Four of the National Recovery Plan (PPN).
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg said the latest package reflected the government’s commitment, as in previous BKSS packages, to restore the socio-economic wellbeing of the people.
“The Sarawak government is always thinking of the best ways to implement the initiatives to help ease the burden of the people,” he said at a press conference after announcing the aid package at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here on Friday (Jan 28).
He said the first measure under BKSS 8.0 was the extension of the monthly electricity bill discount of between five and 25 per cent for domestic, commercial and industrial consumers from January to June this year.
“The discount will benefit 647,000 households, commercial consumers, and industrial consumers throughout Sarawak. The total cost of this electricity bill discount is RM166.8 million which will be borne by the state government,” he said.
In addition, he said the 10 to 25 per cent discount on monthly water bills for domestic, commercial, and industrial consumers would continue, also from January to June this year.
Abang Johari said this would benefit 647,000 households, involving RM24 million.
Thirdly, he said the 50 per cent rental discount for housing schemes under Housing Development Corporation (HDC) Sarawak would continue till June this year.
“This measure will benefit more than 3,200 tenants of HDC housing schemes throughout Sarawak. The total cost of this discount is estimated to exceed RM2.6 million,” he said.
Next, the state government would extend the exemption of rental payment for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) operating in business premises owned by statutory bodies and state government-linked companies (GLCs) for another six months till June this year.
“This rental payment exemption will cost the state government RM2 million,” he said.
He said the fifth measure was the continuation of 50 per cent discount on rental of local authorities’ markets and stalls for hawkers and petty traders also for the same period.
“This assistance will benefit more than 10,165 hawkers who rent stalls under local authorities. The total cost of RM1.7 million will be borne by the state government.”
Abang Johari said the next measure was a one-off cash assistance of RM500 for operators of river taxis, registered passenger van operators, taxi drivers, and school bus and school van operators registered in the state to enable them to provide the required services.
“Sarawak is now in Phase 4 of the National Recovery Plan, where the economic and social sectors are beginning of open up. Therefore, public transport services are needed to assist socioeconomic activities.
“This assistance will benefit 1,725 operators from the transport sector in Sarawak, and this measure will incur an expenditure of RM870,000 for the Sarawak government,” he said.
The final measure under BKSS 8.0 is a one-off RM1,000 special grant disbursed through Sarawak Pay for hawkers and petty traders registered with local authorities.
“This is to help hawkers and petty traders in continuing their business activities,” he said, adding that this would benefit 87,500 hawkers and petty traders registered with local authorities this year.
This special grant assistance will involve an expenditure of RM87.5 million.
“I hope that the measures under the BKSS 8.0 package with a total expenditure of RM285.47 million will help in easing the burden of the people,” said Abang Johari.