KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 7 — Monsoon Season Aid (BMT) for rubber smallholders will be increased to RM800 compared with RM600 previously, said Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz.

He said that the BMT involving an allocation of RM256 million will be given to rubber smallholders who will receive RM200 per month for four months and it will benefit 320,000 smallholders.

In the tabling of the Budget 2022 last year, the BMT assistance of RM600 would be channelled in two stages, namely RM300 in November 2022 and RM300 in December 2022.

According to Tengku Zafrul, for this year’s budget, assistance for paddy farmers has been re-introduced and RM200 will be channelled per month for a period of three months or one season which benefits 240,000 rice farmers with an allocation of RM228 million.

“In order to increase the income of rubber smallholders, the Latex Production Incentive was introduced together with the TARGET programme to improve the supply chain of raw materials through cooperatives,” he said when tabling the Supply Bill 2023 in the Dewan Rakyat here today.

Meanwhile, the Agricultural Protection Scheme will be introduced to protect agricultural operators from any out-of-control risks such as weather, disease and pests, starting with rice farmers.

He said that various subsidies and incentives include rice price subsidies, fertilisers, legal paddy seeds, as well as fishing incentives with an allocation of RM1.8 billion.

“The government will continue to ensure the well-being and provide support to rice farmers, fishermen, and smallholders,” he said.

Budget 2023 is the second budget tabled under the government led by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob and the second since the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP) was launched on September 27 last year. — Bernama