KUCHING (Oct 12): A sum of RM285.47 million has been allocated under the 2022 State Budget for the Sarawakku Sayang Special Assistance 8.0 (BKSS 8.0) next year, said Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg today.
In his statement for the Special Meeting on the 2022 State Budget, Abang Johari said his administration has decided to continue with some of the key initiatives of the previous packages under BKSS 8.0 for the first six months of next year as well as one-off financial assistance.
He said these include: Electricity Bill Discount of RM166.8 million benefiting 647,000 beneficiaries; Water Bill Discount of RM24.0 million benefiting 646,131 beneficiaries; 50 per cent HDC Rental Discount of RM2.6 million benefiting 3,200 tenants; and Waiver of rental to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in retail sector operating on premises owned by state government linked companies (GLCs) of RM2.0 million.
Also covered is a 50 per cent discount for rental of market and stalls belonging to local authorities amounting to RM1.7 million benefiting 10,165 tenants; one-off incentive of RM500 to 1,725 owners and operators of penambang registered with the Sarawak Rivers Board (SRB), licensed van operators, taxi drivers, school bus, and van operators in Sarawak amounting to RM0.87 million; and one-off special grant of RM1,000 to 87,500 hawkers and petty traders through Sarawak Pay of RM87.5 million.
According to Abang Johari, the BKSS 1.0 to 7.0 from 2020 to this year totalled RM5.3 billion involving 30 measures that have been implemented to protect people’s lives and revive the economy amidst the ravaging impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
He also said BKSS 8.0 is line with the eight strategic thrusts of the 2022 State Budget, which are Protecting Lives and Livelihoods, Steering Economic Recovery, Facilitating and Sustaining Business Recovery, Transforming Agriculture and Rural Economies, Developing Human Capital, Accelerating Digital Adoption and Data Utilisation, Balancing Economic Growth with Environmental Sustainability, and Enhancing Government Capacity and Service Delivery.
On a related matter, he said as a responsible and caring government, Sarawak would continue to implement various incentives and welfare assistance, particularly to benefit the vulnerable and disadvantaged segments of society with a total allocation of RM372 million next year.
These initiatives, among others, are Sarawak Newborn Incentive, Post-Natal Assistance, Early Childhood and Care Institutions, Kenyalang Gold Card, Haemodialysis Assistance, i-Suri Incentives, Family Empowerment Programme (e-Life), Safe Haven for Homeless and Displaced Communities, and various types of welfare aid under the Welfare Department.
He also said the state government would continue implementing on-going initiatives such as Free Water Programme with an allocation of RM20.2 million; and Connection Charges Government Financial Assistance with an allocation of RM10 million.
Also to be continued is the RM1 Flat Rate Bus Fare Programme with an allocation of RM10 million and Fire Relief Assistance of RM19 million to fire victims as financial assistance to repair and rebuild burnt houses, which are not covered under fire insurance.
“The state will continue to expand the coverage of treated water and electricity supply throughout the state with an allocation of RM91 million next year. This shall ensure provision of reliable, sustainable, and resilient water and electricity supply to the rakyat. Among the projects are Rehabilitation of Loji 1 (Tank 1) at Batu Kitang, Construction of Water Reservoir Tank at Bukit Pancur, and Electricity Supply Project to schools which have yet to be connected to the grid,” he said.
He added the Sarawak Water Supply Grid Programme for Stressed Areas and Rural Electrification Scheme will also continue to be implemented next year under alternative funding with a provision of RM1.5 billion to be made available.