Financial aid available to Malaysians
graphic by MZUKRI MOHAMAD
THE government announced various financial aids to eligible beneficiaries, in the 2021 budget, aimed at improving people’s lives, as well as lowering the cost of living. Here are some initiatives:
Improve the financial situation
- Financial assistance for disabled people (OKUs) unable to work is reduced from RM250 to RM300.
- Financial assistance for the elderly, bedridden OKU caregivers and the chronically ill is increased from RM 350 to RM 500.
- The rate of the Incentive Benefit for disabled workers is increased from RM400 to RM450.
- Child support is increased from RM100 per child with a maximum of RM450 per family, to RM150 per child aged seven to 18, or RM200 per child six and under, with a maximum of RM1 000 RM per family.
Bantouan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR)
- As part of the 2021 budget, the government will continue to implement and improve cash assistance in a more targeted manner through the BPR which will replace the Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH).
- Overall, the OPI cash assistance is expected to benefit 8.1 million people with an allocation of 6.5 billion ringgit compared to 4.3 million beneficiaries with a 5 billion ringgit allocation previously under the framework. of BSH.
- Families with a monthly household income of less than RM 2,500 and who have up to one child will receive assistance of RM 1,200, while households with two or more children will receive assistance of RM 1,800.
- Families with monthly household income between 2,501 and 4,000 RM and one child will receive BPR assistance of RM 800, while households with two or more children will receive assistance of RM 1,200.
- The government will also help families with monthly household income between RM 4,001 and RM 5,000. This category will receive RM500 for those with up to one child and assistance of RM750 for households with two or more children.
- Singles earning RM 2,500 and under will receive assistance of RM 350. The age limit for eligibility for this group has been lowered to 21 instead of 40.
- The Jaringan Prihatin program aims to alleviate the financial burden of the group of the poorest 40% (B40) in accessing Internet services.
- The income tax reduction for resident natural persons will be reduced by one percentage point for the taxable income bracket of RM50,001 to RM70,000, estimated to benefit at 1.4 million RMB. taxpayers.
- Banks will strengthen Targeted Loan Repayment Assistance (TRA) to B40 borrowers who are BSH or BPR recipients, and microenterprises with loans up to RM 150,000.
Reduce the cost of living
- The minimum contribution rate to the Caisse de Prévoyance des Salariés (EPF) is reduced from 11% to 9% from January 2021 for a period of 12 months in order to increase the net salary. This will benefit EPF contributors with a potential cash flow of up to 9.3 billion ringgit.
- The possibility of withdrawing EPF savings from account 1 is targeted. The authorized amount will be RM500 per month with a total of RM6,000 over 12 months. This withdrawal will help members who have lost their jobs.
- Improvement of the employment insurance plan. The job search allowance for people covered by the Social Security Organization’s (Socso) employment insurance system is currently six months from 80% of the employee’s monthly salary and decreases gradually up to the rate of 30% of the employee’s monthly salary.
- For the 2020 and 2021 tax years, the income tax exemption limit for job loss compensation will be increased from RM 10,000 to RM 20,000 for each full year of service in order to ” help taxpayers who have lost their jobs due to the current economic situation. .
- The government will allocate nearly 28 billion ringgit specifically for subsidies, aids and incentives, including community assistance in the form of transport and welfare, and subsidies to control the increase in the prices of goods and services.
Assistance to farmers and fishermen
- The rubber production incentive allowance will be doubled from Ringgit 150 million to Ringgit 300 million to help stabilize the incomes of 150,000 small rubber farmers.
- An allocation of RM 1.7 billion will be provided in the form of a subsidy, aid and incentive to farmers and fishermen, including a paddy price subsidy of RM 570 million, a subsidy and an incentive for the RM 960 million rice harvest, RM 40 million Padi Bukit fertilizer subsidy.
- The allowance for fishermen will increase from RM250 to RM300 per month from 2021.
- An allocation of RM400 million to help Felda settlers write off interest on settler debt, as well as settler development programs to generate additional income.
- The incentive for employees earning RM 1,500 and over will be increased from a flat rate of RM 800 per month to 40% of monthly income, subject to a maximum incentive of RM 4,000.
- In order to encourage the employment of people with disabilities, long-term unemployed and laid-off workers, employers will receive an additional incentive equivalent to 20% of the employee’s monthly income, bringing the total amount of the 60% employer incentive.
- For sectors with high dependence on foreign workers, such as construction and plantations, a special incentive of 60% of monthly wages will be provided, of which 40% will be paid to the employer, while 20% will be paid. paid as top salary. up to the local worker replacing the foreign worker.
- For people employed under PenjanaKerjaya, the maximum training rate that can be claimed by employers will be increased from RM4,000 to RM7,000 to enable workers to undergo highly skilled training and vocational certifications.
Recycling and improvement
- RM 150 million will be allocated to Ministry of Higher Education Professional Certification (KPT-PACE), under which new graduates will each be entitled to a voucher worth RM 3,000 to complete a certification course professional in public or private universities.
- 100 million ringgit to the Human Resources Development Fund to implement training in collaboration with private sector employers.
- The government will introduce MySTEP or short-term employment program with an allocation of over RM 700 million. This initiative will provide 50,000 employment opportunities on a contract basis in the public sector and government-related companies from January 2021.
Targeted wage subsidy
- The wage subsidy program will be extended for another three months with a more targeted approach, especially for the tourism sector, which includes the retail sector at a rate of RM 600 per month for workers earning RM 4000 and less.
- In addition, the limit of 200 employees per application will be increased to 500 employees. A total of 1.5 billion ringgit is allocated for this purpose and is expected to help around 70,000 employers and 900,000 employees.
- The EPF will allow members to opt out of Account 2 to purchase EPF approved insurance and takaful products for life and critical illness coverage for themselves and their families.
- In order to further encourage retirement savings through the private pension scheme (PRS), personal income tax relief of up to RM 3,000 on PRS contributions will be extended until l tax year 2025.
- Regarding the welfare of the elderly and the disabled through the Home Help Services program, the value of fees for volunteers under this program will increase from RM150 to a maximum of RM400.
- Meanwhile, the value of the program’s vulnerable group assistance will also be increased from RM30 to RM80, which is expected to benefit over 2,000 volunteers and over 8,000 elderly and disabled people.
- The additional tax relief limit for the disabled spouse will be increased from RM 3,500 to RM 5,000.
- Community Rehabilitation Organization staff rate will increase from RM 800 to RM 1,200 per month, while supervisor rate will increase from RM 1,200 to RM 1,500 per month.
- Annual financial support for the operation of the NGO-run Elderly Activity Center will increase from RM33,000 to RM50,000.
- A new tax deduction on remuneration granted to employers who employ seniors is extended until tax year 2025.