Sarawak unveils latest special Covid-19 assistance package worth RM285.47mil

KUCHING: Sarawak has unveiled its latest special assistance package totalling RM285.47mil for discounts on utilities and rental for the first six months of this year.

Chief Minister Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg (pic) said the Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang (BKSS) 8.0 package also included one-off incentives for public transport operators and licensed hawkers.

He said the measures in BKSS 8.0 aimed to ease the people’s burden as the state continues to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“As with the previous packages, this assistance reflects the state government’s commitment to revive the economy for the people’s wellbeing,” he said when announcing the package at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here on Friday (Jan 28).

Abang Johari said discounts of 5%-25% on electricity bills and 10%-25% on water bills would continue from January to June under BKSS 8.0.

This would benefit 647,000 domestic, commercial and industrial consumers, with the state government bearing the cost of RM166.8mil on electricity bill discounts and RM24mil on water bill discounts.

To assist small and medium entrepreneurs and traders, the state government would continue the exemption of rental for those operating in premises owned by statutory bodies and government-linked companies from January to June.

The 50% discount on stall rental at markets under local authorities would also be continued for the first six months, benefiting 10,165 licensed hawkers.

In addition, a total of 87,500 hawkers and traders registered under the local authorities would receive a one-off grant of RM1,000 through the Sarawak Pay ewallet.

“This will assist hawkers and traders to sustain their business activities,” Abang Johari said.

He also announced a one-off cash incentive of RM500 for penambang (sampan operators), taxi drivers and school bus operators.

This will involve a cost of RM870,000 for 1,725 operators.

“As Sarawak is now in Phase 4 of the National Recovery Plan, more social and economic sectors have reopened and transport services are needed to support these activities,” the Chief Minister said.