KUALA LUMPUR, People have lauded the government’s decision to increase the Rahmah Cash Aid (STR) rate from RM3,100 to RM3,700 under the Malaysia MADANI Budget 2024 which was tabled on Friday.

Besides raising the rate for STR, the government has also agreed to increase the number of Sumbangan Asas Rahmah (SARa) recipients from 200,000 to 700,000, a move that many have described as highly necessary in the current situation where people are struggling with rising costs of living.

Canteen worker Mohd Zul Azmira Zaimah, 46, from Kampung Gong Pasir in Dungun, TERENGGANU said that this move is timely and demonstrates the government’s concern for the people during these trying times.

“STR is much needed especially by the B40 group with many children to raise while caring for their elderly parents.

“The reliance of the people on STR does not mean that they are lazy, but the pressures of the soaring cost of living are causing the economic gap to widen,” he said, adding that to supplement his income he has to sell burgers at night.

Muhammad Khairil Azwan Mohd Hanafi, 26 of Kampung Pak Katak praised the move to increase the minimum STR rate for youths to RM500 from RM350.

“I am taking care of my two younger siblings who are in school and my elderly parents. I need at least RM3,000 every month to pay various expenses including the medication for my mother who is suffering from kidney disease,” he said.

Rozita Muda, 48, a cleaning crew with the Kuala Terengganu City Council (MBKT) from Kampung Panji Alam said SARa is a huge help for the extreme poor to buy necessities such as rice, sugar and cooking oil.

A housewife in KEDAH, Aishah Abdul Rahim, 45, said the amount might be small to some but it is a huge help for her who has to raise three young children.

“Two of my children are still in primary school and there are many expenses to cover. This aid, to some extent, helps us with those expenses. However, given the current situation, we need to be wise in our spending to make the most of it (the aid),” she said.

Meanwhile, S. Kugaaneish, 24, said youths are also affected by the tough economic times, adding that his income is not sufficient to cover all expenses.

“Even the previous RM350 STR rate was of significant value to me and helped a lot. Now that it has been increased to RM500, I am undoubtedly grateful and happy,” he said.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim when tabling Budget 2024 said STR which benefits 9 million recipients or 60 per cent of the adult population in the country has been increased from RM8 billion to RM10 billion.

Anwar, who is also the Finance Minister said the government has agreed to extend the monthly RM100 SARa payment period from six months to 12 months next year.

Source: BERNAMA News Agency