The government has just announced new cash grants to help low-income families cope with the rising cost of living.
Speaking in a live address on Wednesday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said an additional RM630 million would be distributed with the second phase of aid payments under the Bantuan Keluarga Malaysia (BKM) assistance for Malaysian economic group B40 (Bottom 40) .
In addition to this, an additional RM100 will be set aside for households and RM50 for singles after taking into consideration the growing number of cost of living challenges and the recent increase in food prices.
The BKM is a direct cash assistance initiative announced in Malaysia’s 2022 budget. It is to benefit the estimated 8.6 million low-income people, who can receive up to RM2,500 this year under the initiative. Originally, the financial allocation for the second phase of BKM was RM1.11 billion.
The additional cash assistance announced on Wednesday is expected to reach up to 4 million households, 1.2 million single or unpartnered elderly people and 3.4 million single people, from June 27.
“Given the challenges of the cost of living and the recent rise in food prices, the government has decided to prepare additional financial assistance for the B40 group. Each B40 household will receive an additional RM100, while single beneficiaries will receive RM50 as part of this additional aid,” the Prime Minister said.
Just last Tuesday, the Minister for Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs, Alexander Nanta Linggi, announced that Malaysia would end price cap controls for chicken and chicken eggs from July 1.
Besides, Minister Nanta also said that subsidies for some cooking oil products will also be removed at the same time. Prices for global edible oils, including widely consumed palm oil, have reached record highs this year due to supply disruption caused by severe weather, labor shortages and conflict in course taking place in Ukraine, a key global exporter of sunflower oil.
It was noted that there has been some confusion regarding the cooking oil subsidy since its announcement. In his address, the Prime Minister noted that the government is still subsidizing cooking oil up to RM4 billion for 2022.
“The government is subsidizing up to 60,000 metric tonnes of cooking oil per month, exceeding the actual needs of consumers by just 55,000 metric tonnes per month,” the Prime Minister said.
He added that the government subsidy for cooking oil for 1kg packets, which cost RM9 in the market but sold at RM2.50 to the B40 group, had started since June 2007.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the government had introduced a temporary subsidy scheme for 1kg, 2kg, 3kg and 5kg bottled cooking oil since August 2022 to help ease the pressure on Malaysians.
“However, the government has discovered that much of the subsidized bottled cooking oil is being misused by industrial and commercial parties and for smuggling,” the Prime Minister said.
As a result, the government had decided to end the bottled oil subsidies, as the original purpose was to help struggling groups affected by the pandemic. Thus, only the subsidy for cooking oil in sachets will be maintained.
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