KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 1 — Malaysians who suffered heavy losses in the December 2021 floods can rest easy as the government will be giving up to RM61,000 in additional cash aid to each household, Shahril Hamdan, the economic director at the Prime Minister’s Office said.
In a statement on Facebook on New Year’s Eve late last night, Shahril who is also Umno information chief, sought to assuage public anxiety that they would have to take out personal loans — thereby adding to their debt pile — to cover the losses and damage to their property.
He said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob’s cash aid announced last night means the flood victims will not have to dig into their own savings to pay for repairs, including their Employees Provident Fund (EPF) accounts meant for their old age.
“Earlier, there were concerns that among the offers announced earlier, namely loans from Tekun and BSN (Bank Simpanan Nasional) even at a zero per cent interest rate and an automatic moratorium, would increase the debt of flood victims.
“Apparently this view has been taken into account and this time, the government came up with additional assistance in the form of expenditure injections from the government instead of the contributors’ own savings,” he said in a statement today.
Shahril also highlighted Ismail Sabri’s promise that the government aims to make 2022 the year Malaysia’s economy will be revitalised post Covid-19 pandemic.
In his New Year’s address aired last night, Ismail Sabri said he recognises the challenging predicament faced by the recent flood victims in the coming months and pledged that further assistance will be delivered to those in need promptly.
The PM said the government has decided to increase the Bantuan Wang Ihsan (BWI) initiative, from RM500 to RM1,000 for each household head, adding that this has already been provided on December 27, 2021 — 10 days after the floods started.
Ismail Sabri said that the government will also provide cash assistance of up to RM5,000 per flood-stricken family for less-serious home improvements.
He said that for serious damage, the government itself would manage the house overhaul at a cost of up to RM15,000, while for homes that were destroyed by the floods, the government will assist up to RM56,000 to build a new home.
He said that the government has also agreed to provide RM2,500 cash specifically for the purchase of essential goods for those who suffered damages to goods due to the floods.
BSN announced it will provide interest-free personal financing facilities of up to RM10,000 to flood victims instead of up to RM5,000 announced initially.
Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz said RM100 million is allocated for this purpose to ease the burden of flood victims to buy equipment and home furnishings destroyed during recent disasters.