Thursday, August 11

Business group urges Putrajaya to include S’wak under Wage Subsidy Programme 3.0

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Nizam Khalyd

KUCHING: An entrepreneurs’ association in Sarawak is appealing to the federal government to extend the Wage Subsidy Programme 3.0 to the state, and not just confine the aid to states under the Covid-19 Movement Control Order (MCO).

Sarawak Entrepreneur Association (SEA) president Nizam Khalyd said the ‘Perlindungan Ekonomi dan Rakyat Malaysia’ (Permai) assistance package announced by the prime minister yesterday was much welcomed, especially since one of its main objectives is to support the business community.

However, he noted that while the initiative is meant for states currently affected by the MCO, it would be good to extend it to Sarawak too.

“The decision to impose a Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) recently in Sarawak will definitely affect micro businesses, particularly small businesses and hawkers due to a significant drop in the number of customers.

“The announcement of Wage Subsidy Programme 3.0 will definitely assist the employers. I would like to appeal to the government for this assistance to be extended to Sarawak,” he said when contacted.

Under the Permai assistance package, Wage Subsidy Programme 3.0 under Social Security Organisation (Socso) will be enhanced whereby all employers operating in the MCO states will be eligible to apply, irrespective of sector.

For a period of one month, eligible employers will receive a wage subsidy of RM600 for each of their employees earning less than RM4,000. In addition, the wage subsidy limit of 200 employees for each employer will be increased to 500 employees.

Currently, only Sibu Division in Sarawak is under the MCO, while the rest of the state is under the Conditional MCO (CMCO). Under the MCO, all non-essential businesses are prohibited and public movement is restricted.

Selangor, Penang, Melaka, Johor, Sabah, Kelantan and the federal territories of Kuala Lumpur, Labuan, and Putrajaya are currently under a 14-day MCO.

Meanwhile, Nizam hoped that Malaysians will adhere to the government’s current imposition of MCO and CMCO to support the effort to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Any extension of the MCO beyond January will be another hit to the small and medium enterprise community,” he warned.

Nizam also suggested that businesses turn to digitalisation as one of the strategies to overcome the current challenges.

“For businesses adjusting to a new normal, digital transformation is the way forward. Digital platforms such as Facebook, Food Panda, and Sarawak Pay are the best alternative ways to continue business,” he said.