SEMPORNA: The Semporna Professional Divers Association (SPDA) has called on the state government to provide monthly assistance to scuba dive instructors and divemasters who are badly affected by the Covid-19 crisis.
Its chairman, Abdul Razak Ismail, said 30 association members were affected since February after the state government barred foreign tourists from visiting Sabah in efforts to contain the spread of the coronavirus.
“Yesterday, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has announced a measure allowing Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contributors to withdraw RM500 monthly.
“However, many divemasters and dive instructors are working as freelancers. Therefore, the announcement is not relevant to us,” he said in a statement yesterday.
Abdul Razak explained they would not benefit from the measure as there was no EPF deduction for freelancers.
He also pointed out that there was no guarantee that tourists would return to Sabah after the Movement Control Order ends, adding the tourism industry would take up to six months to recover.