PM announces RM15 billion PERMAI package to help the nation battle Covid-19 pandemic

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Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has announced an RM15 billion Malaysian Economic and Rakyat’s Protection Assistance Package (PERMAI), comprising 22 initiatives to combat Covid-19.

Highlights:

  • Electricity rebates to continue until June
  • One-off RM500 for tourism industry players, including taxi and bus drivers
  • RM2.5k tax relief for phone, computer purchases extended another year
  • i-Sinar facility simplified
  • Bank loan moratorium to continue
  • One-off RM500 for all medical frontliners
  •  Single individuals earning less than RM2k get RM150
  • Households earning below RM5k receive RM300
  • A food basket with essential food items worth RM100 for each eligible household
  • Employers in MCO areas eligible for pay subsidies of RM600 for each employee

The PERMAI Assistance Package is anchored on three goals, namely battling Covid-19, preserving the welfare of the people and supporting the continuity of business.

Under this initiative, all Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) users, both domestic and non-domestic, will receive a rebate at a rate of two sen per kilowatt-hour.

The rate, said the prime minister, is equivalent to a reduction in electricity bills of up to nine percent for a period of six months from Jan 1 to June 30, 2021.

“The government has also agreed to provide a special discount of 10 percent on electricity bills from January to March 2021 to six business sectors nationwide, comprising hotel operators, theme parks, convention centres, shopping malls, local airline offices as well as travel and tour agencies,” he said.

For tourism industry players who were badly affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, Muhyiddin said under the package, the government has agreed to provide a one-off financial assistance of RM500 to alleviate the burden faced by the group, including taxi and bus drivers.

Those who stand to benefit from this initiative include 14,000 tourist guides as well as 118,000 drivers of taxis, school buses, tour buses, rental cars and e-hailing vehicles.

Muhyiddin said an additional allocation of RM66 million has been provided for this initiative.

“In addition, the government currently provides an exemption from excise duty and sales tax for the purpose of transfer, disposal and private use of taxis, provided the vehicle is owned for seven years.

Bernama

“I am happy to announce that this condition has been reduced to five years, effective from Jan 1 to Dec 31, 2021,” he said in a special address today.

Also, he said in line with the new normal, there is a greater reliance on the use of digital equipment.

“Hence, I am pleased to announce that a special tax relief of up to RM2,500 on the purchase of mobile phones, computers and tablets which expired on Dec 31, 2020, will be extended for another year until the end of 2021,” he said.

The prime minister also announced the extension of the provision of one free gigabyte of data for the public to browse websites, including for educational purposes, to the end of April 2021.

Muhyiddin gave his assurance that the telecommunications industry is committed to providing assistance during the current Movement Control Order (MCO) period.

Apart from that, the Employees Provident Fund’s (EPF) i-Sinar facility advance withdrawal process for Category 2 has been simplified for its members, under PERMAI.

Muhyiddin said EPF members only need to provide a self-declaration that they meet the prescribed criteria and submit the supporting documents online.

“Further details will be announced by EPF in the near future,” he said.

Since Dec 21 last year, more than three million applications for the i-Sinar facility have been approved with a total of RM24 billion payable this year.

As for those facing problems with their monthly loan repayments, the premier said the loan moratorium and reduction of repayment instalments will continue during the implementation of the MCO.

He said that the moratorium facility, including extension of the moratorium and restructuring of loan repayment, will continue to be offered by banks as announced previously.

On the other hand, for flood-affected states, he said that 15 banks have offered the loan repayment moratorium.

“To date, more than 1.3 million borrowers have applied for and received such assistance, with an approval rate of 95 percent for individual borrowers and 99 percent for Small Medium Enterprise (SME) borrowers.

“Malaysians need not worry about contacting their respective banks should they require repayment flexibility.

“For borrowers facing difficulties in dealing with banks, Bank Negara Malaysia and the Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) are ready to assist and advise borrowers through the telephone or online,” he added.

The moratorium also encompasses the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) loan.

On a separate note, Muhyiddin said he hoped the extension of sales tax exemptions for locally-assembled and imported passenger vehicles until June 30 under the Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana) will continue so as to drive the growth momentum of the automotive sector.

Other goodies under the PERMAI package include:

– A one-off payment of RM500 for all medical frontliners

– Single individuals earning less than RM2k get RM150

– Households earning below RM5k receive RM300

– A food basket with essential food items worth RM100 for each eligible household

– Employers in MCO areas eligible for pay subsidies of RM600 for each employee