The government has allocated RM28 billion for subsidies, aid, and incentives for targeted sectors in Budget 2021, an increase of RM400 million from the RM27.5 billion set aside last year.
Although he acknowledged that the government could not afford to maintain such an amount, he said the budget – the first tabled by the Perikatan Nasional government since it took over Putrajaya early this year – had taken into consideration the heightened need for assistance, especially through the welfare department.
Aid channelled through the department, together with the Cost of Living Aid or BSH, is expected to benefit half a million recipients.
Sectors given an increase in subsidies, aid and incentives in Budget 2021 include agriculture (RM24 million) and fishery (RM25 million). The transportation sector received RM122 million while RM87 million was set aside for community aid and religious assistance. RM34 million was allocated for aid in the health sector, education received RM319 million, while RM101 million was set aside for allowances and other forms of aid.
Allocations were however reduced for five sectors: rubber farming (RM15 million), consumers (RM1.185 billion), security (RM64 million), scholarships and student loans (RM217 million), and loan interest (RM84 million).
The allocation for the padi sector remained unchanged at RM1.55 billion.
Budget 2021 also saw an increase in allocation for fishermen’s living allowances, from RM250 a month to RM300, which is expected to benefit over 52,000 fishermen.