KUCHING: The Sarawak government’s initiatives under Sarawakku Sayang Special Assistance 5.0 (BKSS 5.0), such as discounts on utility bills for another six months until June, show that they understand the hardship faced by the people during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers’ Association (Sheda) Kuching branch chairman Datuk Sim Kiang Chiok said the pandemic and resultant standard operating procedure (SOP) and restrictions put into place had affected productivity and income for most Sarawakians.
“We are fortunate that our state government can afford to provide this assistance worth RM405 million to lessen our burden,” he said today.
He said the various initiatives under BKSS 5.0 including utility discounts, assessment and land rates reduction, waiver of licence and permit fees for hawkers, traders, and hotels (for this year); waiver of rental for small and medium enterprises operating in statutory bodies’ and state government-linked premises and 50 percent rental reduction for Housing Development Corporation housing schemes would help many small traders, workers, businesses and hotels.
He expressed gratitude for this timely extension of assistance to Sarawakians, noting that the state government had extended Covid-19 assistance since March last year and this was now the fifth series of BKSS.
“The vaccine is expected to arrive in Malaysia by February this year and our federal government has announced that it will take until the first quarter of next year to vaccinate 80 percent of the population, so we can expect that this pandemic will be with us until then.
“Our state government might still need to extend this assistance after the end of June this year for us to accommodate the Covid-19 prevention lifestyle.”
He expressed confidence that the state government would be caring and would not leave anyone behind in helping the people to pull through this difficult time, protecting the people’s health and livelihood.
“Until we are all vaccinated, we need to keep to Covid-19 prevention SOP, wash our hands, wear our masks, and keep to social distancing.”