Guan Eng: Where’s the govt aid for M40, SMEs?

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DAP national chairman Lim Guan Eng today expressed his concerns over the lack of financial aid for the M40 group, saying they are often abandoned by the government.

“B40 households earning up to RM4,850 a month get a small financial help from the government to cope with the removal of these subsidies of RM100 per household and RM50 for singles. For M40, they get nothing.

Bernama

“The government should provide some assistance bearing in mind that like those in B40, many in the M40 spend more than 25 percent of their disposable income on food,” Lim said in a statement today.

The Bagan MP said that following the removal of subsidies for chicken, eggs, and oil (except for 1kg packs), a 5kg Vesawit cooking oil that previously cost RM28 now costs RM41.

He said that the 43 percent price hike does not reflect the inflation rate of 2.8 percent in May 2022 as measured in the consumer price index.

“The increase in the Producer Price Index (PPI) local production, which measures the costs of goods at the factory gate, of 11.2 percent in May 2022 compared with 11 percent in April 2022, is probably more accurate.”

The former finance minister said the income of Malaysians has been eroded by the steep decline in the value of the ringgit, which has depreciated to historic lows against the Singapore and US dollars, two of the country’s three biggest trading partners.

“The Covid-19 pandemic since 2020 has unfortunately caused more than 580,000 M40 households to slip into the B40 category.

“SMEs face the same predicament of not getting sufficient assistance from the government to meet rising prices.”

He said the higher operating costs of SMEs are further compounded by an acute labour shortage caused by ministerial incompetence and red tape.

“Why impose additional hardships on SMEs when this acute labour shortage can be easily resolved at a stroke of the ministerial pen?

“The federal government must not betray its national duty to assist both the M40 and SMEs,” Lim said.

It was previously announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob that the B40 income group will receive cash assistance in four stages under the Bantuan Keluarga Malaysia (BKM) aid to help alleviate their financial burden.