KUCHING: The state government has announced the Sarawakku Sayang Special Aid Package worth more than RM1.15 billion to help Sarawakians face the economic uncertainties made worse by the Coronavirus DIsease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said it involved a direct expenditure by the Sarawak Government amounting to RM974.75 million to mitigate the impact of the economic slowdown and reduce the burden of Sarawakians.
This is further supplemented by deferment of loan repayment, waiver of payments and discount of Sarawak Government basic services of RM179.79 million for the year 2020, he said when announcing the package at a press conference at Wisma Bapa Malaysia here.
“The package is a balanced people and business-centric model to cushion the impact of economic slowdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. At the same time, this is over and above our continuous efforts to steer Sarawak economy towards a developed state by 2030.
“The GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) Government shares the pain of rakyat during this trying time. We do not know when this pandemic will end but let us go through this together for Sarawak. Let us pray for the betterment of Sarawak,” he said.
Abang Johari outlined 16 measures in the special aid that would benefit Sarawakians at large especially the B40 group as well as businesses.
Asked on the RM130 million allocation by the federal government for the states in the country, he said the state government may have to verify first how much allocation each state would actually get because it should depend on the size of the states.
The allocation was announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin earlier today.
“We have to get clarification from Kuala Lumpur first because he (Muhyiddin) said RM130 million to all the states, not for each state,” said Abang Johari.
He opined that the allocation for each state should be based on the size of each state.
“But it’s still assistance from the federal government, and I thank them. But as far as Sarawak is concerned, we are giving more than RM1 billion assistance to Sarawakians,” said Abang Johari.
Muhyiddin earlier said the RM130 million allocation would be used to assist all state governments irrespective of their political affiliation to prevent the spread of Covid-19 at their respective states.
The allocation, he said, could be exhausted by the state governments to provide assistance to hawkers and small traders whose businesses were affected during the Covid-19 crisis.