KUALA TERENGGANU, May 10 — A total of 408 taxi drivers and over 1,300 employees from 141 tourist and travel agencies, affected by the COVID-19 outbreak, will each receive RM300 through the Terengganu People’s Economic Aid (Berkat) 2.0 incentive programme.
State Tourism, Culture and Digital Technology Committee chairman Ariffin Deraman said over RM520,000 had been allocated for this special incentive which is hoped to ease the people’s burden especially in making preparation for Aidilfitri celebration.
“The aid to be distributed to all eligible recipients in stages will be credited into their respective accounts,” he told reporters after handing over the assistance to the taxi drivers’ representative and owners of selected tourism agencies, here, today.
Last February, Berkat 1.0 aid for the tourism sector totalling RM150,200 was distributed to Sultan Mahmud Airport taxi drivers, tour guides, trishaw riders, boat operators, speed boat drivers, Tasik Kenyir boat house operators and mountain guides.
Meanwhile, several taxi drivers when met by Bernama expressed their gratitude for the timely assistance which they said was useful as Hari Raya is just a few days away.
Ahmad Che Noh, 67, said his income as a taxi driver had dropped significantly following the pandemic.
“It is difficult even to get RM10 per day. There are days when we get nothing but we understand that it is the pandemic season. Everyone in the tourism industry had been badly affected.
“Fortunately the state government understands our plight and has given us this incentive paymnt. Thank you too to the federal government for giving RM500 to taxi drivers earlier this year,” said Ahmad who has been a taxi driver since 1994.
For transportation company Sri Bumi Holidays owner, Nor Umirah Nordin, 30, the state government’s handout has brought cheer to her six employees.
“Our company owns a bus, four vans and 10 cars for rent, and we have been collaborating with island resort and chalet operators throughout Terengganu.
“However the pandemic had caused the company’s income to drop by 90 per cent. Previously we could get over 20 travel package bookings but nowadays we can’t even get one booking and to survive we now have to switch to delivery service,” she said.