The government today announced additional cash aid for the B40 or Bottom 40 income group of RM100 for households and RM50 for singles under the Bantuan Keluarga Malaysia (BKM) initiative.
In a speech aired live today, Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the additional assistance was meant to help the B40 group tackle the cost of living and the recent increase in price of goods.
He said it would involve an extra RM630 million on top of the second phase of BKM payments, and would benefit almost 8.6 million recipients comprising four million households, 1.2 million senior citizens and 3.4 million single individuals.
“Eligible recipients will begin receiving payments in stages from June 27, involving a total allocation of RM1.74 billion,” he said.
Ismail also sought to clear the air over the matter of cooking oil subsidies, saying the subsidies introduced in 2007 for cooking oil in packets would remain in place.
He said only the temporary subsidies programme for bottled cooking oil introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic would be discontinued.
“During the Covid-19 pandemic, in August 2021, the government introduced the temporary subsidies programme for 1kg, 2kg, 3kg and 5kg bottled cooking oil,” he said.
“This initiative was to help the Malaysian Family which at that time was affected by the pandemic.
“It was only meant to be implemented for three months, at a cost of RM55 million per month.”
However, Ismail said the government found that the subsidised cooking oil had been heavily misappropriated for industrial, commercial and smuggling activities.
“Therefore, the government decided that from July 1 onwards, subsidies for bottled cooking oil would be discontinued as the early objective of this programme was to help those affected by the pandemic.
“For this, only the subsidies for packaged cooking oil will continue, and the government is confident that the subsidy of 60,000 metric tonnes a month will be enough for the use of the Malaysian Family,” he said.
Yesterday, Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Alexander Nanta Linggi said that subsidies for bottled cooking oil would be discontinued from July 1, along with the price ceiling control for chicken and chicken eggs.
However, he said that the subsidy for cooking oil in 1kg polybag packages offered to consumers at RM2.50 per packet would continue.
He also said that chicken prices would be floated and would depend on market forces, while targeted financial aid would be given to those in need.