The COVID-19 outbreak has affected businesses and livelihoods worldwide. Luckily, the Malaysian government implemented several financial initiatives to lessen the financial burden on many Malaysians.
Here, we round up all of the available financial initiatives to help you stay informed and to ensure that you remain financially secured during this troubled time.
Financial support for Malaysians
The first economic stimulus package announcement highlighted that recipients of the Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) will receive the BSH aid in March, an extra RM100 support in May and RM50 through e-tunai.
On 27 March, more financial support was announced. This includes a one-off cash aid of up to RM800 to single adults earning less than RM4,000 in monthly salary. Married individuals whose combined household earnings do not exceed RM8,000 per month will receive up to RM1,600 per household*. The funds will be credited into your bank account beginning 6 April onwards.
On 6 April, it was also announced that those who are eligible to receive assistance but do not have an income tax record can still apply via the LHDN website until 31 April 2020.
Automatic 6-month loan moratorium for individual and SMEs
On 24 March, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) announced that individuals and SMEs will be granted an automatic loan moratorium on all loans and financing for 6 months from April onwards**. This additional measure is applicable for loans that are not in arrears for more than 90 days and only for loans in Malaysian Ringgit.
The moratorium does not include credit card balances, however, credit card customers will have the option to convert their balances into a term loan of not more than 3 years.
RM500 per month EPF withdrawal
On 23 March 2020, the Malaysian Prime Minister announced that Malaysians under the age of 55 can withdraw up to RM500 per month from their EPF Account 2. The i-Lestari withdrawal programme will start from April 2020 until March 2021 during which time EPF members can submit their applications online, through email or the post.
The i-Lestari withdrawal is in addition to the lower EPF deduction for employees from 11% to 7% that will run from 1 April to 31 December 2020.
PTPTN loan repayments deferred by 6 months
To help Malaysians conserve their cash for urgent necessities, the Malaysian Prime Minister also announced that loan repayments for National Higher Education Fund Corporation (PTPTN) will be deferred by 6 months, effective immediately***.
Further support for students will be made in the form of an automatic RM200 payout to students enrolled at higher education institutes.
Financial aid and discounts on utilities
Employees who have to take unpaid leave due to the COVID-19 outbreak will receive a monthly financial aid of RM600. This was announced on March 16 and will be given to employees who are earning less than RM4,000****.
For businesses in sectors affected by the COVID-19, a 15% discount on electricity charges will be given.
Meanwhile, other commercial and domestic electricity consumers will get a 2% discount between 1 April and 30 September 2020.
In this difficult time, we hope that you take the necessary safety precautions wherever you are and we hope that you stay healthy and keep clean at all times.
This article is brought to you by CIMB as part of our ongoing efforts to raise the level of financial literacy among Malaysians. Financial knowledge and understanding are key to making well-informed and meaningful financial decisions that will improve all our well-being. This, in turn, achieves CIMB’s purpose of advancing customers and society.