The amount of cash aid for B40 individuals and households under Putrajaya’s latest financial assistance programme to face the six-week phased lockdown is insufficient, former prime minister Najib Razak said.
The RM2.1 billion allocated for the cash aid, or Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPN), should be increased to RM6.3 billion instead, he said in yet another Facebook post critical of the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government.
The former Barisan Nasional head said the amounts payable also did not make sense for the third movement-control order (MCO 3.0) that would last at least one-a-half months, given that the country had gone through the earlier MCO 2.0 in January this year.
No financial aid was given then, Najib said.
“Is the RM500 assistance for a B40 family with at least three family members paid only at the end of June enough to face a one-and-a-half-month lockdown period?
“Is the assistance of only RM100 enough for a single person?
“Moreover, this assistance is only after since the MCO 2.0 five months ago, and now they have to face another lockdown for another one-and-a-half months,” the Pekan MP said.
In the Pemerkasa Plus aid package announced Monday night by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin, cash aid of RM500 will be given to households with a monthly income of less than RM2,500, RM300 to households earning between RM2,501-RM5,000 a month, and RM100 to singles earning less than RM2,500.
Najib said these amounts should be raised from RM500 to RM1,500, RM300 to RM500, and the RM100 for singles raised to RM300.
“This amount is more meaningful for the B40 group to face a total lockdown for one-and-a-half months,” he said.
The MCO 3.0 has been tightened and is now a hard lockdown almost similar to the MCO 1.0 last year. To last at least six weeks from June 1, the first phase is two weeks of hard lockdown until June 14, followed by relaxed conditions for four weeks provided the number of daily Covid-19 infections drop after the first phase.
Najib said the government should dig into the National Trust Fund (KWAN) more to pay larger amounts of cash aid.
“The government should dig into KWAN for another RM4.2 billion.”
Najib also took a dig at the government for neglecting the middle-income group in the latest economic aid.
He said the middle 40 group (M40) with a household income of above RM5,000 will not benefit from the Pemerkasa Plus stimulus pack.
“They’re not going to get the Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat cash aid, the loan moratorium, i-Sinar and i-Lestari withdrawals, electric bill discount and free (viewing of all) Astro channels,” said Najib.
He noted that the M40 group would also not get a moratorium on National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loan repayments.
“What form of assistance is given to the M40 group this time around? Except 95,142 companies given approval for the time being to operate during the ‘total lockdown’,” he said.