Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Covid-19 - PN Muhyiddin's response? Assist workers(who lost income/jobs) not public sector workers whose income job secure?

Prime Minister of the Perikatan Nasional recently announced the government response to VICTIMS of Covid-19, but then there are elements providing for monies and aid to others, not at all affected, like government employees(public sector) - WHY? Not necessary unless it is simply to gain political support for Muhyiddin and his PN government. This is WRONG and not the time, as the aid and monies should have been channeled to those affected directly by the Control of Movement Orders - that  


- Workers in the private sector, who are forced to take unpaid leave, those who are daily waged who will not receive pay for days they do not turn up for work, those workers that LOST their jobs, self-employed workers, etc - those that continue to receive regular income like public sector employers, statutory body employees,   

- Small businesses like shops, small factories/industries, pasar malam or night market sellers, etc > The 1 month of no business or income will be difficult for them, as they also will have normal ongoing expense like rental, utilities, etc. These small businesses(even professional groups like lawyers, accounting firms, etc), including small contractors, may also have difficulty paying their employees even if they want to for UNLIKE big businesses, they do not have much SAVINGS put aside to rely on. [These business owners and their employees need assistance]

B40 or M40 categorization simply do not work > as many of them may really not be affected at all, as they work for government(be it Federal, State or local government) - so the aid and financial assistance need to be really targetted to the ACTUAL Victims of Covid-19 and the restrictions in place. Same with PPR - if income or job not affected, they do not need monetary aid now.

Helping HOUSEHOLDS also would not help since the Malaysian government start using a 'new definition' and no longer refers to families(husband,wife, children and elderly relatives). Now 'household' means all in the house, and a small house housing 10 Minimum Wage workers would be considered a household earning more than RM10,000 > hence not entitled to aid.
The response must be direct to the individual workers, human owners of small businesses, etc > and this AID must be a MONTHLY financial payments by the government. {It is wrong to ask these workers to take out monthly RM500 their 'old age savings'}

The PEOPLE's Money(Duit Rakyat) is what government money really is, and it should be used to help those in NEED at the time of NEED for so long as they need it.

The priority should be HELPING People not businesses for now > After the Covid-19 passes, then the government can come out with the needed 'other' economic stimulus packages. For businesses, just help the owners survive not so much their businesses that suffered because of movement control order and lack of business

The people who are already receiving government aid - like the poor, single mothers, elderly and/or sick, disabled should continue receiving the aid as they were before..


- If the government only is relying on their 'household data', then maybe the government may not have the complete individual data of persons in need. [Data provided by political parties(in the past the BN parties, and of late the PH parties) may really not be too reliable - not only may many be not in the list, but there is also the possibility that the 'undeserving' may on that list > It is always proper that such list be developed independently by the relevant government Ministry/Department/Agencies - like the Welfare Departments and for workers the Human Resource Ministry.

- Sadly, ALL Malaysians are still not required to submit annual income tax returns, irrespective whether they need to pay taxes or not > if this was there, then a more comprehensive and current data base of individual earnings and income would be there.

- Now, KWSP/EPF records and/or SOCSO/PERKESO records may help identify workers in need of DIRECT Assistance now > but then many are not in these lists. The Labour Department ought to have a register of all employees...

- What about them MIGRANT Workers - these human beings also have been impacted by loss of income, and to IGNORE rendering them financial aid and assistance at this time is wrong > later the government can CLAIM back from their employers or those responsible...

DURING THIS COVID-19 CRISIS, there are certainly other spending priorities -  like health ministry needs(increased staff, facilities, medicine, etc)...

Focus should be for economic assistance and spending to deal with the Covid-19 crisis all in Malaysia are facing - not the time for any other 'economic stimulus' packages to deal with other economic reasons related to the ringgit value drop, drop in oil,rubber and oil palm prices, etc.

Covid-19 is a global phenomena, and it affects everyone, every nation state, and even every business/economic activities - and, as such a response based on 'problems' or analysis before the Covid-19 may no longer be relevant - We need to analyze the situation after this Covid-19 situation to see what is the problem now, and what remedies are needed.  

Focus must be for SHORT-TERM relief and assistance now for this lock-down period (plus maybe 1-2 months) - As time passes, situation changes...

Government can always come up with other assistance packages later as and when there is a need - maybe in 1 months time, etc.

What these workers/people who have lost income and jobs/business needs? Well, they need money to survive FAST - and that should be at least RM50 per day(or the Minimum Wage daily rate) - and they should receive it maybe on a weekly or fortnightly basis...and the money best be transfered directly to these people.

WHERE WILL THE GOVERNMENT GET THE MONIES FROM? Well, do not take out LOANS as then it will just increase the Malaysian debt(which is already outrages, as was left us after the Najib-led government left us? PH may or may not have made situation worse or better?)

Now, one issue that was raised before was the too HIGH pay for some public servants, and even in some government agencies and GLCs? How much is the MAS CEO getting now? So, think about the following proposals:-

- Limit the salaries/allowances to these highly paid employees of government, statutory bodies and GLCs > The maximum maybe should be RM10,000 a month, all others shall be 'delayed' or simply deducted. RM10,000 is certainly more than enough for anyone and/or any family to survive. 

Imagine, if someone who is now receiving RM20,000, this will mean government will get RM10,000 that could be flowed to workers/people who lost income/jobs > 10 such persons can now be given RM1,000 a month.

In fact, some of the high income earners, should now be coming forward to hand over part of their income freely to the Government > this could be a direct gift, OR maybe a 'temporary interest-free loan'.

Remember workers/others that have lost INCOME(and worse jobs) NEED IMMEDIATE HELP - we do not want anyone to die or to have to resort to crime in desperation to simply survive these difficult times, do we now? 

DO NOT USE POLITICIANS OR POLITICAL PARTY APPARATUS OR THIRD PARTIES TO DISBURSE AID OR MONIES - It must be done by the relevant government departments/agencies. This is not the time to improve your political standing or support...

Disbursement of aid/assistance/monies should be by the Government to ensure efficient disbursement to the NEEDY. If not some may collect aid from some MP or ADUN, and then go again and get aid from the government department > and there exist many 'naughty' people out there. 

ODD payments in the recent 'economic stimulus' package to combat Covid-19 (or is it for other things)

> RM1,600 in aid to households earning below RM4,000, with RM1,000 paid in April and RM600 in May. - well,anyone will be happy to get 'FREE' money but should this be paid out to 'households' whose salary/income and/or jobs not affected? I think not...Only should be given to those who lost income/jobs

> Govt pensioners to receive RM500 one-off cash aid. - WHY? Remember some pensioners, as it is now receive a lot of monies, maybe even 2 to 3 times more than the minumum wage every month. And pensioners income is not at all affected - as the government will still continue paying their monthly pensions. So, really not needed > a 'political action' to garner more support for Muhyiddin and PN government? If that aid, in normal times, is given to pensioners receiving less than RM1,000-RM1,500, then maybe it is OK {WHAT about the millions who are not receiving any pensions - private sector workers in Malaysia still NO Pensions - and most have so little monies in the EPF accounts, sufficient to live for about 4-5 years only? When will Malaysia have a National Pension Scheme for ALL?

- Special allowance for healthcare workers, and security forces - WHY? They already have their salary and allowances, including critical allowances. Is there really any need for this pay-outs > We need monies now for the recruitment of new and temporary staff - that is where the priority should be? Remember health and security personnel already know the RISKS involved in their job? 

> National Caring Aid (Bantuan Prihatin Nasional) involving one-off cash payment of RM10bil will be given to the B40 and M40 group, including private workers, farmers and fishermen. This includes RM1,600 to four million households earning RM4,000 and below; RM1,000 for households earning RM4,000 above; RM800 for single Malaysians aged 21 and above earning RM2,000 and below; RM500 for single Malaysians aged 21 and above earning between RM2,000 and RM4,000. 
Comment:- Again, are they suffering any loss of income or jobs? 
For those who lost income/jobs, a one off payment will not help > Not enough, It should be monthly or even fortnightly payments which should at least be equal to the amount required to live/survive, which is certainly higher than the minimum wage.

- Are some of it just to get political mileage during this Covid-19 crisis? Or is it really to assist people, especially them who have lost jobs and income, and to make our healthcare better to cater to this pandemic?
- Remember, private sector workers are also asked to take out their OWN EPF savings - when they really should be given direct financial aid by the government, especially those who lost jobs and/or income.
...so much more questions...and comments.

* These are my own opinions, as is all comments made in my Blogs.



Muhyiddin unveils RM250bil economic stimulus package

  • Nation
  • Friday, 27 Mar 2020
PUTRAJAYA: Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has on Friday (March 27) unveiled an economic stimulus package known as package prihatin or caring package valued at RM250bil that will benefit all Malaysians.

From the amount, RM128bil to be used to protect the welfare of the people, RM100bil to support businesses including small and medium enterprises.

The government on Monday (March 23) had announced an allocation of a total of RM600mil for the Health Ministry for the purchase of equipment and to hire contract staff, especially nurses.

It had also announced that the Employees Provident Fund contributors aged below 55, can withdraw RM500 for up to 12 months.

An allocation of RM130mil has also been announced and will be distributed equally to all states - regardless which political party is heading it - to help tackle the Covid-19 pandemic.

Below are the highlights:

> RM500mil for Health Ministry to ramp up the capability and resources of Health Ministry.

> Govt raises special allowance for healthcare workers from RM400 to RM600 a month from April 1 to end of pandemic.

> Additional special allowance of RM200 a month for frontliners for police, immigration, Customs Department

> RM1,600 in aid to households earning below RM4,000, with RM1,000 paid in April and RM600 in May.

> National Caring Aid (Bantuan Prihatin Nasional) involving one-off cash payment of RM10bil will be given to the B40 and M40 group, including private workers, farmers and fishermen. This includes RM1,600 to four million households earning RM4,000 and below; RM1,000 for households earning RM4,000 above; RM800 for single Malaysians aged 21 and above earning RM2,000 and below; RM500 for single Malaysians aged 21 and above earning between RM2,000 and RM4,000.

> RM200 one-off aid to students of higher education institutions who are affected

> Free Internet from April onwards until the end of MCO

> Government together with TNB will add an allocation of RM530mil for discounts between 15% and 50% for electricity usage up to a maximum of 600kW a month for six months from the April bill.

> Exemption of rental payment for PPR and public housing for six months.

> Insurance and takaful companies will set a RM8mil fund to bear Covid-190 screening test costs of up to RM300 each for policyholders

> Govt to give one off payment of RM500 to some 120,000 e-hailing drivers beginning April 1.

> Govt and BNM will set additional allocation of RM4.5bil for SME and micro entrepreneurs which will comprise of five initiatives.

> One-off RM500 for 120,000 e-hailing drivers nationwide with an allocation of RM60mil. This is in addition to the RM600 one-off aid announced for taxi drivers that was announced in the previous stimulus package.

> Govt will pay the salaries borne by contractors involved in the service sector, such as cleaning services and supply of cooked food in government agencies.

> Govt will introduce a wage subsidy of RM600 a month for three months for employers with a 50% drop in business since Jan 1, for workers with a salary of below RM4,000.

> Govt will continue all projects allocated in Budget 2020, including ECRL, MRT2 and the National Fiberisation and Connectivity Plan (NFCP) in line with its focus to ensure sustainable economic development.

> Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF) levy exempted for all sectors for six months starting April 2020.

> Federal government premises such as school canteens, nurseries, cafeteria and convenience stores exempted from rent for six months.

> Govt pensioners to receive RM500 one-off cash aid.




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