KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 18 — Earlier payouts for cash aids, simplifying the withdrawal process from one’s Employees Provident Fund (EPF) account, broadened tax exemptions and conditional loan moratorium extensions were among the individual perks announced as part of the Permai package this evening.
Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who announced the package during a “live” telecast this evening, first highlighted how aid under the Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR) assistance programme would be paid out from January 21 onwards.
This involves individual recipients under the Bantuan Prihatin Nasional, and eligible households under the first phase of the Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat.
Regarding EPF withdrawals under the i-Sinar programme, Muhyiddin said those applying under Category 2 will see the process simplified, as they are now only required to provide a self-declaration of having met the criteria and to submit the supporting documents.
“The government has also asked EPF to facilitate the advance payment, which will commence on January 26.
“To further enhance the i-Sinar facility, especially for those facing challenges due to the movement control order (MCO) and floods, the government has been informed that EPF will provide an advance of up to RM1,000 from the amount applied under the i-Sinar Category 2 facility,” he added.
Also announced was the extension of tax relief for individuals of up to RM2,500 for purchases of mobile phones, computers and tablets that was extended until the end of 2021.
Aimed at boosting the sales of passenger vehicles, Muhyiddin also announced the extension of a sales tax exemption for locally assembled and imported passenger vehicles from December 2020 to June 30, 2021.
He also mentioned several tax incentives for those who have and are looking to contribute aid towards curbing the pandemic, as a sign of appreciation for their gesture of goodwill.
“The government has announced several incentives in the form of tax deductions for donors who have been assisting in cash and kind those impacted by the pandemic.
“Such donors are eligible for a tax deduction based on their gross business income or aggregate income,” he said.
Muhyiddin also announced that in light of the second MCO and flooding in several states, moratorium extols and restructuring of loan repayments will continue to be offered by banks and financial institutions.
As for those within flood affected areas, he said that 15 banks have since offered their customers loan repayment moratoriums.
“To date, more than 1.3 million borrowers have applied for and received such assistance, with an approval rate of 95 per cent for individual borrowers and 99 per cent for 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 telephone or online,” he added.
Borrowers from the National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) also received good news, with the prime minister announcing that those affected either by the pandemic or floods can apply for a three-month repayment moratorium from now until March 31.
Additionally, Muhyiddin also announced the extension of the 1 gigabyte free internet access programme that will last until April 1, with a special subscription package that will be offered to students sitting for the SPM and STPM examinations also set to run until April.
Concerning welfare programmes, Muhyiddin announced how the Social Welfare Department will implement a food basket programme for affected households worth RM100 each basket and RM50 million in total.
He added how the government will allocate RM25 million under the GLIC/GLC Disaster Relief Network Programme in matching grants with government-linked companies for social initiatives including but not limited to community assistance for the elderly, homeless, the disabled, and disaster victims.