KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 1 — While expressing their approval for Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s proposal to raise the Social Welfare Department’s monthly aid to RM1,000, the Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) today called for the assistance also be extended to all bottom 40 (B40) wage earners and social security pensioners.
MTUC also said it hoped the proposal was a sincere move and not a political gimmick to bolster the Perikatan Nasional (PN) alliance’s position for the September 26 Sabah election.
Its secretary-general J. Solomon said MTUC hopes there will be no delay in implementation when Muhyiddin’s is presented in tomorrow’s Cabinet meeting, noting that more Malaysians have been impacted daily by the economic downturn brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“This does not require any passing of laws but just a Cabinet decision and internal circulars would suffice once the Finance Ministry sources the funds.
“So not much feedback or studies are necessary as the Welfare Department will have the database of those eligible,” Solomon said in a statement.
He urged the government to consider extending the same RM1,000 welfare aid to all workers who fall under the B40 category and recipients of the Social Security Organisation (Socso) pension programme.
MTUC suggested the cash aid be given to the B40 group for as long as the government declares the country under the Covid-19 epidemic and further proposed that pensioners should be benefiting from the aid permanently.
Solomon said these two categories are among the hardest hit by the economic uncertainties, adding that cash aid is vital if the government is serious in combating poverty.
“We would like to reiterate that for any government to remain in power, it is vital for it to ensure the welfare of the 15 million workers in the country is handled with care as they involve all Malaysians directly or indirectly.
“As such, let us remind the Cabinet ministers that all Malaysians would be watching tomorrow to see if the PM’s meaningful suggestion will get the nod of all Cabinet ministers and hopefully implemented as soon as possible albeit on a broader scale to help those stuck in the B40 group and can barely fend for their families,” he wrote.
Muhyiddin, while on a visit to Sabah, proposed the welfare department’s monthly aid be increased from RM200-RM300 to RM1,000, adding how he would discuss the suggestion with his Cabinet this week.
He made the announcement during the two-day visit that ended last Sunday, his first to the state since becoming prime minister in March, days before the election period for the Sabah polls kicked off.