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KUALA LUMPUR, July 1 (Bernama) -- The government through the Finance Ministry has always increased assistance and subsidies to the people to help ease the cost of living, said Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz.
He said without government subsidies, Malaysia's inflation rate for May could reach up to 11.4 per cent.
“However, the subsidy policy has helped curb inflation in Malaysia to 2.8 per cent.
“The government will continue to provide subsidies and cash assistance to protect the people from the burden of the rising cost of living,” he said in the 101st Laporan Kewangan Rakyat released today.
According to the report, the projected subsidy expenditure for this year has now reached RM77.7 billion after taking into account the additional allocation of chicken and egg subsidies of RM370 million for July and August.
For a period of five months, between February and June, the government has provided an allocation of about RM730 million to cover the subsidy costs for the two food items.
"Chicken subsidies also enable chicken prices in Malaysia to remain among the lowest in the ASEAN region," he explained.
He added that the government has also provided additional cash assistance worth RM630 million which had been paid to recipients of Bantuan Keluarga Malaysia (BKM) starting June 27.
Meanwhile, a total of 25,965 participants have been successfully placed through the Malaysia Short-Term Employment Programme (MySTEP) this year, as of June 17.
As for the Wage Subsidy Programme (PSU), the government has channelled a total of RM20.871 billion to 357,827 employers to maintain the employment of 2.957 million local workers in an effort to reduce the unemployment rate among Malaysian workers.
As of June 17, a total of 322,177 employers and 2.64 million employees had received the benefits of PSU 1.0 where the approved wage subsidy applications had reached RM12.958 billion.
Meanwhile, for PSU 2.0, RM1.408 billion was channelled to 81,158 employers to continue to operate and maintain employment for 718,847 employees and RM3.763 billion was channelled to 162,306 employers to maintain employment for 1.53 million employees for PSU 3.0.
“Under the PEMULIH Package, PSU 4.0 has channelled RM2.557 billion to 163,471 employers to continue operating and maintain employment for 1.92 million employees and a total of RM185.095 million has been channelled to 7,495 employers to continue operating and maintain employment for 106,404 employees for PSU 5.0," he said.
Commenting on S&P Global Ratings which revised Malaysia's long-term sovereign credit rating outlook to 'stable' from 'negative', Tengku Zafrul said the stable outlook reflected expectations that Malaysia's stable growth momentum and strong external position would remain for the next two years.
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