KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 24): The federal Finance Ministry has channelled RM1.6 billion in financial assistance to Sabah under Bantuan Prihatin Nasional (BPN) as of Aug 14.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz said of the amount, RM461.62 million went to 16,490 employers in Sabah under the wage subsidy programme to retain 125,487 workers.

He said this while winding up the debate for the Finance Ministry on the Temporary Measures for Government Financing [Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19)] Bill 2020 at the Dewan Rakyat today.

“Aside from that, 904,567 people in Sabah received BPN assistance totalling RM983.34 million while 103 small and medium enterprises (SME) received RM22.23 million under the Penjana scheme for SMEs,” he said.

He said 19,671 SMEs in the state received assistance from a special Prihatin grant of RM59.01 million while 3,397 Micro SMEs received approval for microcredit from BSN and TEKUN under the Prihatin and Penjana packages, worth RM45.35 million.

"Also, 65,544 frontline workers in Sabah have received Special Covid-19 Allowance totalling RM24.49 million," Tengku Zafrul said.

He was responding to questions from Datuk Azizah Mohd Dun (Beufort-Bersatu) and Datuk Liew Vui Keong (Batu Sapi-Warisan) regarding BPN disbursement to residents in the rural and interior areas of Sabah.