RM512.5m channelled to MOH to combat Covid-19, says finance minister

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz a press conference following a visit to the Employees Provident Fund’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur June 12, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana
Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz a press conference following a visit to the Employees Provident Fund’s headquarters in Kuala Lumpur June 12, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 19 — A total of RM512.5 million has been channelled to the Ministry of Health (MOH) as at August 7, 2020 to further enhance the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) effort in combating Covid-19, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz said.

He said a total of RM1 billion has been extended to finance the purchase of medical equipment such as ventilators and intensive care unit (ICU) equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE) for public and medical service personnel, and laboratory equipment for Covid-19 screening.

“For the Frontline Special Allowance, RM222.4 million has been channelled based on 694,447 claims, comprising that of doctors, nurses and other medical personnel who are directly involved in the management and containment of the pandemic.

“This special allowance is also extended to members of the military, police, customs, immigration, fire brigade, Civil Defence Force, and Rela (People’s Volunteer Corps) who are directly involved in implementing the movement control order (MCO),” he said.

He said this when presenting the 17th Laksana Report on the implementation of the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package (Prihatin) and National Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana).

On the Cost of Living Aid (BSH), Tengku Zafrul said payments amounted to  RM2.7 billion have been credited into the bank accounts of 4.13 million recipients.

“Approved BSH recipients, who have not received the payments in their bank accounts, can claim in cash at any Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) outlets until December 31, 2020,” he said.

For the i-Lestari Employees Provident Fund (EPF) programme, he said until Aug 7 2020, the total cumulative withdrawals made from April until August 2020 amounted to RM6.5 billion, an increase from RM5.71 billion in the previous week, involving 4.52 million recipients (an increase from 4.5 million in the previous week.)

For taxi drivers, Tengku Zafrul said the government has channelled assistance to 29,968 taxi drivers totalling RM17.9 million for the first phase recipients, and increase from 29,665 taxi drivers amounting to RM17.8 million in the previous week.

“For recipients of the second phase, the payments have been made on July 22, 2020 involving 4,814 drivers,” he said, adding that 1,376 drivers have received payments for the second phase amounting to RM825,000.

For tour guides, he said a total of 7,582 tour guides have received assistance amounting to RM4.55 million, up from 7,570 guides amounting to RM4.54 million in the previous week.

“Besides that, payments to 3,104 tour bus drivers have been made on July 22, 2020 and as at Aug 7, 2020, a total of 2,870 tour bus drivers have received assistance amounting to RM1.7 million,” he said. — Bernama

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