Prime Minister Announces New COVID-19 Aid Package Worth RM15 Billion

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced the RM15 billion PERMAI aid program to support the economy during the Second Order of Movement Control (MCO). Many of the benefits of the program are aimed at businesses and employers to alleviate the financial blow that comes with another MCO.

A number of these benefits are benefit extensions that were due to expire at the end of 2020. This is the tax break (worth 2,500 RM) for those who buy smartphones, laptops and tablets for working from home; 1 GB of free mobile data for all Malaysians during the term of the AGC; and reduce installment payments on loans from financial institutions. Additionally, those with PTPTN loans can request a three month moratorium on repayments.

A special moratorium on loans has also been granted to states affected by recent floods.

The wage subsidy program for local employers is also being expanded and extended. Employers can now apply to receive RM 600 per month per employee earning less than RM 4,000 per month. In addition, the size limit for companies that can claim this benefit has been increased from 200 to 500 employees. The Prime Minister said he expects the program to benefit some 2.6 million Malaysians.

SOCSO benefits are gaining momentum as the requirements for claiming benefits under the Employee Insurance Plan (EIS) are relaxed. Those who have not reached the minimum contributions or have not had their contract extended (after receiving at least three prior extensions) can now claim up to 30% of the last salary received for three months. Delivery people are also given special attention as the government has allocated RM24 million to fully fund the contributions for them under the SOCSO self-employment social security scheme.

Other benefits for individuals include the extension of the sales tax exemption on the sale of passenger vehicles; a one-time payment of RM 500 to tour guides and drivers of taxis, school buses, tour buses, rental cars and electronic telephony; as well as to bring forward the disbursement dates of EPF i-Sinar and Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat payments.

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Jothi Venkat

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