KUALA LUMPUR (March 27): The Government has announced several measures aimed at assisting the B40 given the challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and the Movement Control Order (MCO), ranging from one-off cash handouts to rental exemptions.

Households earning RM4,000 and below per month are entitled to a one-off RM1,600 financial assistance, while unmarried individuals aged at least 21 who are earning up to RM2,000 will receive a one-time RM800 payment.

Meanwhile, unmarried individuals earning between RM2,001 and RM4,000 per month are entitled to a one-off financial aid of RM500.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin also said that the balance of the funds of Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH), amounting to RM3.2 billion, will be disbursed in July this year.

The Government also announced a wage subsidy of RM600 a month, for three months, to help employers retain their employees.

This initiative, however, is limited to employees who earn less than RM4,000 per month and employers that have seen their income drop by more than 50% since Jan 1.

“The employers must ensure that they do not let go of employees or order them to go on unpaid leave for a period of three months after this programme is underway. Besides that, the employers may not cut the current pay of their employees,” said Muhyiddin.

Those residing in public housing (PPR) units have been exempted from paying rent for six months, translating to a total cost of RM3 billion to be borne by the Government.

For those staying at rent-to-own units, monthly payments will be deferred for six months from April to September, amounting to a total cost of RM5.7 million.

Similarly, those staying at DBKL public housing units have been exempted from paying rent for six months as well.

“I urge the State Governments and local authorities to give similar exemptions to reduce the burden faced by those staying at PPR housing in their respective States,” said Muhyiddin.