Malaysia's Ministry of Finance has released a report on the progress of the PRIHATIN and PENJANA packages introduced earlier this year, in the country's ongoing battle against COVID-19.
The report, known as the 16th report by the Economic Stimulus Implementation & Coordination Unit Between National Agencies (LAKSANA), was shared on Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz's Facebook page yesterday (11 August).
It covers three themes:
- Achievements made under the PRIHATIN package
- Achievements made under the PENJANA package
- Review of current issues
The key points most relevant to HR and employers are summarised below:
Achievements made under the PRIHATIN package
PRIHATIN goal #1: Protect the people
First, is the Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH). BSH recipients whose applications have been approved but cannot get their cash credited into a bank account can claim it in cash at any branch of the Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) until 31 December 2020. The BSH 2020 appeal application is open from 7 August 2020 to 6 September 2020, with no charges for appeals/applications.
Appeals can be made through:
- Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri Malaysia (LHDNM) branch / Revenue Service Centre / Urban Transformation centre
- Online for applicants who do not pass status (based on certain criteria only)
Applicants are advised to visit the official site for more information.
PRIHATIN goal #2: Support for businesses
Up till 31 July 2020, a total of RM8.99bn in wage subsidies has been approved (an increase from RM8.97bn), benefitting over 2.6mn employees (up from 2.58mn). Wage subsidy programmes (PSUs) will continue to help employers and employees affected by COVID-19; Tengku Zafrul also stated that SOCSO, which handles the process, has also uploaded the names of employers who have received PSU assistance.
PRIHATIN goal #3: Strengthen the economy
For the moratory of the financial institutional loan repayment, which took effect on 1 April 2020, as of 31 July 2020, the value of the moratorium is estimated to amount to RM66.6bn. From this figure, as much as RM23.3bn has been utilised by the business sector while RM43.3bn has been utilised by locals.
Towards the end of the general moratorium on 30 September 2020, banking institutions continue to be ready to assist borrowers affected by covid-19 through extended moratoriums and targeted bank assistance.
- First, individuals who have lost their job in 2020 and still have not started a new job will qualify for the extended moratorium targeted for a three-month period. After three months, the moratory period can be extended by banks depending on their individual situations.
- Second, for individuals who are still working but their salaries are affected or reduced due to COVID-19, the monthly installment payment will be reduced in line with the salary reduction rate, depending on the type of loan.
Achievements made under the PENJANA package
Under PENJANA, initiatives are divided into three goals:
- Empowering the people
- Business recovery
- Economic stiumlation
PENJANA goal #1: Empowering the people
First, under the MY30 programme, as of 31 July 2020, a total of 204,325 passes have been sold (an increase from 179,349 passes), with government subsidies for MY30 passes so far totalling to RM34.7mn.
Second, involves recruitment incentive programmes and training assistance. since registrations opened on 15 June 2020, a total of 9,844 (an increase from 7,543mn) employees have found employment. This includes 7,100 who are under the age of 40, 1,500 who are between 40-60 years old, 84 persons with disabilities, and 1,200 apprentices.
Third, includes social assistance for the vulnerable, through one-off assistance of RM300 paid to the following groups:
- Persons with disabilities: 185,713 recipients, with a total payment of RM55.7mn
- Home assistance services: 1,815 recipients, with a total payment of RM544,500
- Single mothers: 1,350 recipients, with a total payment of RM405,000
Fourth, incentives to encourage childcare centers to adopt new norms and premise recognition: one-off grants of up to RM5,000 have been channelled to every nursery and kindergarten operator registered under the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, and the Ministry of Education. As of 31 July 2020, 1,785 nurseries have been reviewed and a total allocation of RM8.3mn has been approved.
Fifth, relates to skills programmes and skills upgrading. To increase the marketability of youths and the unemployed, the government, in collaboration with several ministries and agencies, will implement training and skills improvement programmes for these groups. These upcoming programmes are estimated to benefit nearly 200,000 youths and the unemployed.
PENJANA goal #2: Business recovery
The TEKUN Business Recovery Scheme (TBRS) - As of 31 July 2020, a total of 1,810 applications were approved (an increase from 718) amounting to RM12.3mn (up from RM5.27mn). Of this amount, a total of RM6.8mn has been channelled to and utilised by 900 SMEs.
PENJANA goal #3: Economic stimulation
Next, is ePenjana, an initiative aimed at helping eligible Malaysians as well as boosting consumer spending through the provision of RM50 in credit matched by incentives worth RM50. The ePenjana initiative was launched on 31 July 2020 in collaboration with the MySejahtera COVID-19 contact tracing application, and the three leading e-wallet service providers, namely, Boost, GrabPay, and Touch ‘n Go eWallet.
As of 7 August 2020, 7.44mn people have successfully received RM50 in their e-wallets, with a total allocated value of RM372mn.
Review of current issues
As stated by Tengku Zafrul, the initiatives introduced under the PRIHATIN and PENJANA packages have begun to show positive results, with unemployment rate found to be declining, based on the Department of Statistics Malaysia’s latest figures in June 2020. The unemployment rate in June 2020 decreased by 0.4%, down to 4.9% from 5.3% the previous month. “Despite positive developments, the government will continue to pay attention in addressing unemployment among the people," Tengku Zafrul noted.
Photo / 123RF