The increase in assistance of between 10 percent and 30 percent for the vulnerable group in the 2021 Budget shows that the government emphasises sustainability of financial assistance to them.
Dean of the School of Business and Economy, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM), Prof Dr Azali Mohamed said the Supply Bill 2021 (Budget 2021) that was passed at the policy level today would also help in efforts to reduce poverty rate in the country, in line with sustainable development goals to be achieved.
“The focus is also on the persons with disabilities (PWD), poor children, followed by senior citizens who are most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These people really need financial support, especially to deal with the current difficult situation.
“Nowadays, it is not easy to get employment or business opportunities, especially for the PWD. Therefore, the increase in assistance is timely,” he told Bernama.
Azali said if the vulnerable group optimises the aid provided by the government, it would also indirectly improve domestic economy through direct cash flow.
“However, the increase in the assistance rate can be refined and reviewed from time to time according to needs in line with the latest annual Poverty Line Income (PLI).
“This is because the amount of increase announced by the minister today may be sufficient, or relevant with the spending rate for this year until next year, but in the future, the price of goods may increase,” he said.
Malaysian Usiamas Welfare Association president Datuk Rohaini Mohd Yusof, who is grateful that the Supply Bill 2021 (Budget 2021) has been approved, said the increase in assistance was a recognition for senior citizens.
“The increase in the honorarium value for volunteers under the Home Help Services Programme, which will be increased from RM150 to a maximum of RM400 as presented in the 2021 Budget shows recognition to our role in the elderly community.
“I hope with this assistance, the role of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), like this association, the government can make us partners in looking after the welfare of the elderly, even those under government agencies such as the Social Welfare Department, which has old folks homes,” she said, adding that the association has about 170 volunteers.
Rohaini said Malaysia, which is moving towards becoming one of the aged countries by 2030, will have more elderly people, and therefore the assistance will indirectly encourage the spirit of volunteerism and attract young people to become volunteers to take care of the elderly.
Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz , when tabling the 2021 Budget last Nov 6, announced an allocation of RM6.5 billion for cash assistance under Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR) which will benefit 8.1 million people and an allocation of RM2.2 billion to help the disabled.
The Supply Bill 2021 (Budget 2021) was passed at the policy stage with a majority voice vote.
Efforts by the Opposition and Independent members to call for bloc voting failed, after they did not meet the minimum number of Members of Parliament required for a vote. Only 13 of the MPs got up, while they need a total of 15 people to get up to allow the process to take place. BERNAMA