Prime Minister Announces New COVID-19 Aid Package Worth RM15 Billion
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced the PERMAI aid package worth RM15 billion to prop up the economy during the second movement control order (MCO). Many of benefits of the package are aimed at businesses and employers to soften the financial blow that comes with another MCO.
A number of these benefits are extensions of benefits that were set to expire at the end of 2020. These are the tax relief (worth RM2,500) for those buying smartphones, laptops, and tablets to work from home; free 1GB of mobile data for all Malaysians for the duration of the MCO; and reduce loan installment payments from financial institutions. Additionally, those with PTPTN loans can apply for a three month moratorium on repayments.
A special moratorium on loans has also been allocated for states affected by the recent flooding.
The Wage Subsidy Programme for local employers is also being extended, and expanded. Employers can now apply to received RM600 per month per employee earning less than RM4,000 per month. Furthermore, the limit on the size of the companies that can apply for this benefit has been increased from 200 employees to 500 employees. The Prime Minster said that he expects the scheme to benefit some 2.6 million Malaysians.
SOCSO benefits are getting a boost, with requirements to claim benefits under the Employee Insurance Scheme (EIS) being loosened. Those who have not been meeting the minimum contributions or have not had their contracts extended (after receiving at least three prior extensions) can now claim up to 30% of the last drawn salary for three months. Delivery riders are also getting special attention as the government has allocated RM24 million to fund full contributions for them under the SOCSO Self-Employment Social Security Scheme.
Other benefits for individuals include extending the sales tax exemption on the sale of passenger vehicles; a RM500 one-off payment to tour guides and drivers of taxis, school buses, tour busses, rental cars, and e-hailing; as well as bringing forward the disbursement dates for the EPF i-Sinar and Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat payments.