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Govt ready to consider expanding SARA aid to benefit more people

Publish date: Thu, 29 Feb 2024, 05:38 PM

KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 29): The government is ready to consider expanding the scope of the Asas Rahmah (SARA) initiative to include uses beyond purchasing basic necessities, said Finance Minister II Datuk Seri Amir Hamzah Azizan.

“SARA is a suitable concept and may be considered for assistance using other methods in the future,” he said in response to a supplementary question from Oscar Ling Chai Yew (PH-Sibu) regarding whether the government will expand the provision of SARA for treatment in private clinics during the question and answer session at the Dewan Rakyat on Thursday.

Amir Hamzah said that for this year, the SARA programme credit has been expanded to include three additional categories, namely personal care items, medicines, and school supplies, on top of basic food essentials like rice, cooking oil, eggs, and flour.

He said that with the improvements, the SARA 2024 programme is poised to benefit over 700,000 recipients with an allocation of RM700 million compared with 210,000 recipients with an expenditure of RM130 million last year.

According to Amir Hamzah, eligible recipients for SARA now include both the poor and the hardcore poor, expanding its coverage from only the hardcore poor last year.

He said that the aid amount for SARA households has also been increased to RM1,200 from RM600 in 2023, while aid to single individuals remains at RM600.

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