The government spent RM2.2 billion from a special allocation of RM2.7 billion, as of last month, on student welfare, in particular those from low-income families.

The special allocation was provided to primary and secondary school students, which included per capita grant, hostel meal assistance programme, Food Supplement Programme, purchase of textbooks and assistance for payment of additional school fees, according to the Economic Report 2013/2014 released by the finance ministry here today.

According to the report, the government had spent RM523 million for the schooling assistance programme of RM100 for each student in primary and secondary schools.

As of July this year, the programme, which was introduced in January, had benefited 5.2 million students nationwide. The government is also continuing the 1Malaysia Book Voucher Programme (BB1M) for higher learning institutions and pre-university students at RM250 per person.

As of July, the government spent a total of RM309 million for the BB1M programme, benefiting more than 1.2 million students nationwide.

The government also considered the importance of health for the people, as well as education, especially in providing easy access to the public in clinic amenities.

The report said RM100 million had been allocated by the government for refurbishment of 520 clinics nationwide, of which 84 were completed by August, while RM13 million had been allocated by the government for the opening of 70 1Malaysia clinics.

As of August, 52 of the 70 began operating nationwide. Additionally, those Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contributors who were diagnosed with terminal illnesses, were allowed to make full withdrawals from their EPF savings under the Incapacitation Withdrawal clause but subject to confirmation by the fund’s medical board.

As of August, 2,366 members made withdrawals under that clause with claims totalling RM129 million.

On Youth and Sports, the report said the government had allocated RM15 million for the High Performance Sports Programme, to prepare athletes for international games, namely SEA Games 2013, Asean Paralympic Games 2013, Commonwealth Games in 2014 and Asian Games in 2014.

As for the youth, the government offered a one-off rebate of RM200 under the Youth Communication Programme Package for them to purchase 3G smartphones through authorised dealers.

As of August, RM260 million was disbursed to more than 1.3 million youth.