More than RM1 billion has been allocated under Budget 2023 for the agenda to empower senior citizens and Orang Asli, Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz said today.
He said almost RM1 billion had been provided especially for the welfare of senior citizens, a significant increase from RM580 million in 2020 following a boost in the rate of assistance for senior citizens and the widening of eligibility for recipients.
He said the government would continue to provide grants amounting to RM21 million to support the operation of private care institutions for senior citizen, children amd people with disabilities run by NGOs.
"The agenda to empower the community will focus on granting aid, infrastructure facilities and socioeconomic programmes," he said when tabling the 2023 Supply Bill at Dewan Rakyat today.
Zafrul said RM305 million had also been provided for the Orang Asli community next year compared to RM274 million this year.
"The allocation will cover social assistance programmes, the cost of upgrading living standards and Orang Asli integrated village developments," he said.
He said next year, the government would implement the Orang Asli Plantation Replanting Project encompassing the replanting of rubber and oil palm to benefit more than 2,100 Orang Asli in Kemaman, Terengganu, Bera in Pahang and Gua Musang, Kelantan.
"The government is also stepping up Orang Asli Entrepreneur Development Programme to provide business facilities and entrepreneurship guidance for 550 Orang Asli," he said.
Zafrul said next year, foundations under government-linked companies (GLC) will also sponsor at least 10 Orang Asli children to further their education abroad.
"Majlis Amanah Rakyat is now sponsoring 10 Orang Asli children for further studies abroad," he said.
In this regard, he said RM10 million had been provided under the Agropenjara initiative to expand agricultural and plantation activities involving 70 hectares of prison land.
"The allocation is, among others, to expand the farming of stingless bees in the orchard of Dato’Murad Pre-Release Prison in Melaka and improve the supply freshwater fish at the Kamunting Correctional Centre in Perak," he said.
Zafrul said from next year, an additional tax deduction for employers employing ex-prisoners would be extended to former inmates of Henry Gurney Schools and government protection and rehabilitation institutions.
The additional tax deduction initiative will also be extended to non-government care centres registered with the Welfare Department (JKM) he said.
He said the government would also set up Transit-Anjung Sinar Centres as temporary centres for children under the care of JKM before they find work and begin a new life.
"GLCs will also assist them with appropriate job opportunities," he said.