Traders Are Still In The Dark Over BKSS, Proper Mechanism Should Be In Place By The State Government

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Press Statement By Julian Tan:

Many eligible recipients of ‘Sarawakku Sayang Special Assistance’ (BKSS) programme have yet to receive the cash handouts after their appeal applications. Initially, it is stated heads of household, who are listed as beneficiaries of Bantuan Sara Hidup (BSH) by the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) in January 2020, are automatically eligible for the Sarawakku Sayang Special Assistance (BKSS), however, this is not the case where many of the BSH somehow are not automatically listed as recipients, even after the extended appeal application many are still left in the dark on the status of their application.

There are also BKSS financial aid for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), micro-enterprises, petty traders and hawkers, after our visit on the ground, many traders have yet to receive the said financial aid. What more frustrating is there were cases where the applicants received SMS notification on the success of their application and were asked to retrieve at the nearest BSN branch, after a long queue, they were told no financial aid has been credited into their account. To rub salt into the wound, they were ‘push around’ in the subsequence calls to few other local government agencies.

I would like to urge the Minister of Local Government and Housing YB Dr Sim Kui Hian to look into the issue with the utmost urgency and expedite the aid handout. The ministry and local agencies involved should provide an official platform to ease the process of checking the application status instead of having the traders wasting their valuable time at such a time as this where many were trying to make ends meet. No one knows who or where to look for, even a call to local government agencies were met with ‘beating around the bush’, this is simply uncalled for.

While the effect of the second wave is still a concern, it is envisaged that many individuals and businesses are still struggling to make ends meet. Liquidity is crucial to every household and business; thus, a quick disbursement of cash handout will undoubtedly play a significant role in easing the burden.

It is, therefore crucial for the government to have a well-planned mechanism to ease and expedite the aid handout, to constantly keep the recipients with up to date information on what and when to expect so they will not be waiting anxiously and wasting precious time to keep on looking for an affirmative answer on the status of their application.

Julian Tan
Special Assistant to YB Chong Chieng Jen