Malaysia announces RM250 billion stimulus package
Malaysia Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced on March 27 an economic stimulus package known as ‘package prihatin’ or ‘caring package’ valued at RM250 billion to support workers, employers and the healthcare industry.
COVID-19 outbreak has impacted the Malaysian economy and workers as the country has been in a lockdown since March 18.
From the stimulus package, RM128 billion will be used for the welfare of the people, RM100 billion to support businesses including small and medium enterprises and RM500 million for the Health Ministry for the purchase of equipment and to hire contract staff, especially nurses.
The government also announced that Employees Provident Fund contributors aged below 55 can withdraw RM500 for up to 12 months.
Here are the key highlights of the stimulus package:
- Government will pay the salaries borne by contractors involved in the service sector, such as cleaning services and supply of cooked food in government agencies.
- Government will introduce a wage subsidy of RM600 a month for three months for employers with a 50% drop in business since Jan 1, for workers with a salary of below RM4,000.
- Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF) levy exempted for all sectors for six months starting April 2020.
- Government to give one off payment of RM500 to some 120,000 e-hailing drivers beginning April 1.
- Government and BNM will set additional allocation of RM4.5bil for SME and micro entrepreneurs which will comprise of five initiatives.
- One-off RM500 for 120,000 e-hailing drivers nationwide with an allocation of RM60mil. This is in addition to the RM600 one-off aid announced for taxi drivers that was announced in the previous stimulus package.
- RM500 million for Health Ministry to ramp up the capability and resources of Health Ministry.
- Government raises special allowance for healthcare workers from RM400 to RM600 a month from April 1 to end of pandemic.
- Additional special allowance of RM200 a month for frontliners for police, immigration, Customs Department
- RM1,600 in aid to households earning below RM4,000, with RM1,000 paid in April and RM600 in May.
- National Caring Aid (Bantuan Prihatin Nasional) involving one-off cash payment of RM10bil will be given to the B40 and M40 group, including private workers, farmers and fishermen. This includes RM1,600 to four million households earning RM4,000 and below; RM1,000 for households earning RM4,000 above; RM800 for single Malaysians aged 21 and above earning RM2,000 and below; RM500 for single Malaysians aged 21 and above earning between RM2,000 and RM4,000.
- RM200 one-off aid to students of higher education institutions who are affected
- Free Internet from April onwards until the end of MCO
- Government together with TNB will add an allocation of RM530mil for discounts between 15% and 50% for electricity usage up to a maximum of 600kW a month for six months from the April bill.
- Exemption of rental payment for PPR and public housing for six months.
- Insurance and takaful companies will set a RM8 million fund to bear Covid-190 screening test costs of up to RM300 each for policyholders
- Government will continue all projects allocated in Budget 2020, including ECRL, MRT2 and the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP) in line with its focus to ensure sustainable economic development.
- Federal government premises such as school canteens, nurseries, cafeteria and convenience stores exempted from rent for six months.
- Govt pensioners to receive RM500 one-off cash aid.