PETALING JAYA: Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim has mooted monthly cash aid for those in the “B60” category, which he defined as comprising people in the B40 and the lower half of the M40.
The PKR president said such aid should be given out to those in the bottom 60% for the duration of the lockdown, labelling current forms of direct government aid as mere “gimmicks”.
In a virtual presentation, he said this group bore the brunt of the pandemic’s impact, as they now include those most affected by Covid-19 restrictions, such as owners and employees of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) and those in the informal sector.
“Direct injections cannot be one-off, there needs to be RM1,500 given to each B60 family as long as the MCO runs, for up to two to three months.
“This would be more effective than one-off payments because single payments are largely used to pay off debts, such as housing and vehicle loans,” Anwar said.
He added that the government’s aid did not adequately solve the issues of the people, as measures like EPF withdrawals and the loan moratorium would only provide relief towards the month of August, which may be too far away for many.
According to Anwar, the B60 group typically lacked large savings in their EPF accounts that can act as safety nets should household income be severely impacted, thus necessitating generous aid measures.
He said studies had found those making less than RM4,000 per month could see their income drop by over 20% during the lockdown, with those making under RM2,000 per month potentially having to go without wages at all, illustrating the harsher consequences faced by the most vulnerable.
“In general, we found that nearly five million households, or nearly 15 million people, have been severely affected by the economic situation resulting from the prolonged pandemic.
“This is a very large figure, more than 50% of the population, of which about 85% of them are Malays and Bumiputeras.”
By : Imran Ariff – FMT