Govt To Enhance STR, SARA Programs For 2024

The Malaysian government has announced substantial enhancements to its Cash Assistance Program (STR) and other key aid initiatives for the year 2024, said the Press Secretary to Finance Minister II, Siti Nurbaiyah Nadzmi in today’s Dewan Rakyat sitting.

Under the STR, the allocation has seen a notable increase of 2 billion ringgit, representing a 25 percent rise from the previous year, soaring from 8 billion ringgit in 2023 to an impressive 10 billion ringgit in 2024.

This boost in funding has translated into tangible benefits for approximately 9 million recipients, constituting a remarkable 60 percent of Malaysia’s adult population.

Moreover, the rate of assistance per household has been augmented by at least 300 ringgit, extending support to over 4 million recipients. Phase 1 of STR payments, which were distributed at the end of January, has also experienced a substantial increase, rising from up to 300 ringgit in 2023 to up to 500 ringgit in 2024.

Similarly, the Basic Assistance Program (SARA) has witnessed significant expansion and enhancement measures for the year 2024.

The allocation for SARA has been increased more than fivefold, escalating from 130 million ringgit in 2023 to an impressive 700 million ringgit in 2024.

Notably, the eligibility criteria for SARA recipients have been broadened to include both the poor and hardcore poor, marking a significant departure from the limitations imposed in 2023.

As a result, the number of SARA recipients has skyrocketed from 210,000 in 2023 to a commendable 700,000 in 2024.

Additionally, the assistance rate for household categories under SARA has been substantially increased from 600 ringgit in 2023 to a noteworthy 1,200 ringgit in 2024.

The government’s commitment to enhancing social support extends beyond cash assistance programs. Under the MADANI Government, improvements have been made to aid schemes targeting specific sectors.

“Under the MADANI Government, assistance for school students has also been improved. Starting from 2023, the government has expanded the recipients of Early Schooling Assistance (BAP) to all students from Grade 1 to Grade 5.

Payments of BAP at a rate of 150 ringgit to all students have been distributed since January 2024, involving an allocation of nearly 800 million ringgit to assist in the schooling preparation of more than 5 million children compared to only 3 million before 2023.” Siti further added.

In addition to educational aid, measures have been taken to improve assistance for smallholder rubber and paddy farmers.

Under the MADANI Government, the Rubber Production Incentive has been increased not once, but twice, demonstrating the government’s commitment to supporting agricultural livelihoods.

Similarly, efforts have been made to boost the income of paddy farmers, with the Subsidy Price Scheme for Paddy witnessing a significant increase from 360 ringgit in 2022 to 500 ringgit per metric ton in 2023.

Furthermore, civil servants and government retirees have also received attention, with the distribution of the Early Study Incentive for the Public Service Salary System between 1,000 ringgit and 2,000 ringgit to 1.3 million civil servants and 1 million government retirees at the end of last month.

These payments, among the highest in recent years, provide crucial support to individuals in preparing for their children’s education expenses and the upcoming festive seasons.

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