CM: Overwhelming response to SME Special Relief Fund

Posted on : 09 May 2020  Source of News: The Borneo Post

Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg

KUCHING: The measures under the earlier two packages of Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang (BKSS) have provided the much-needed relief to individuals and businesses who are bearing with the disruption and challenges caused by Covid-19, says Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg.

He said that there has been an overwhelming response to the Small-Medium Enterprise (SME) Special Relief Fund under BKSS 2.0.

According to him, over 3,000 SMEs from all across Sarawak have applied – resulting in an over-subscription of BKSS 2.0 SME Special Relief Fund amounting to RM1.3 billion.

The approvals to date have recorded over RM500 million in value, with remaining applications pending Bank Negara’s approvals.

“About a month ago (March 23), I announced BKSS 1.0, and followed by BKSS 2.0 on April 10. These two packages, worth RM2.25 billion, are mainly to address the ‘pain points’ of societal needs as well as industries’ needs across all levels of societal classes and scale of business entities.

“The measures include cash handouts, loan repayment deferment, interest free soft loan for SMEs, monthly incentives for frontline personnel and discount of utilities bills for consumers in Sarawak,” he said when updating the media on the progress of the BKSS 1.0 and BKSS 2.0 yesterday, where he also announced the latest package, BKSS 3.0.

Abang Johari revealed that the first payment of BKSS 1.0 cash aid for B40 (low-income) group was credited to 391,037 recipients’ bank accounts, which amounted to RM97.7 million on April 15 this year.

For the 15,206 recipients who did not have bank accounts, he said fund had been made available to Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN), beginning April 17, for cash claims.

He also said a sum of RM3.2 million was credited as special allowance into the accounts of 12,856 frontliners, involving personnel from Ministry of Health, Immigration Department, Malaysia Armed Forces and Royal Malaysia Police, on April 27.

On the exemption of permits and licensing fees to traders, hawkers, night market traders and ‘Pasar Tamu’ (farmers and jungle produce markets) and a discount of 50 per cent on rental fees of market lots and stalls from April 1 to Sept 30, Abang Johari said this had benefitted more than 10,000 hawkers renting market lots and stalls, particularly those under the purview of local authorities.

The chief minister also said two million free face masks had been distributed to the people in Sarawak since April 17 under BKSS 1.0.

A total 8,575 flat tenants of Housing Development Corporation (HDC) had benefitted from the waiver of rentals since April this year, while 28,377 households and their 85,000 extended families had benefitted from HDC moratorium on all housing loan/longhouses loan repayments and maintenance charges for housing projects for six months, beginning April.

He also said 144 SME operators in Sarawak had benefitted from the deferment of Small-Medium Industry Loan Scheme (SPIKS) since April.

“A total of 1,800 hawkers and petty traders registered with local authorities had received first tranche of special grant through Sarawak Pay as at April 30, and 366 applications were received under Sarawak Micro Credit Scheme with fund requirement amounting to RM14.48 million,” he added.

State Secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Sameon and members of the Sarawak Cabinet were present at the press conference.