Friday, September 24

SBF expects more aid packages in state’s plans to be announced tomorrow

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Jonathan Chai

KUCHING (July 21): Sarawak Business Federation (SBF) secretary-general Jonathan Chai looks forward to the state’s plans and strategies to be unveiled tomorrow for the post-Covid-19 pandemic period.

“Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg has held a meeting with the leaders of the business community on July 1 and I am confident that he will be receptive to the proposals submitted by various business organisations including SBF,” he told The Borneo Post.

Chai said the objective of the strategies is to propel Sarawak to become a developed and high-income state by 2030.

“We expect there would be some goodies to be announced, given that this is the last ‘big occasion’ before the dissolution of State Legislative Assembly which is expected to take place on the expiry of the Emergency Order on Aug 1.”

Chai believed the upcoming special address by the chief minister could be seen as a ‘warming up’ for the next state election which will be held within the next couple of months.

As most people have been going through some tough time in the various stages of the Movement Control Order, Chai said the public was hopeful that some form of financial assistance or handouts could be provided to tide them over during this challenging time.

“From the perspective of the business community, we hope that a Sarawak version of the Wage Subsidy Programme could be provided as it will effectively ease the cash-flow of a lot of struggling businesses, especially the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).”

Chai said providing much-needed support to the business community would be able to keep jobs intact for all employees and avoiding massive unemployment.

With SMEs being the largest group of employers in the state, Chai remarked there would be more people out of jobs in the event of a growing number of business closures.

“We can’t afford to continue providing handouts to these people every now and then as that would only solve their problems temporarily.”

Thus, Chai said the state government must strive to ensure that businesses could survive through the pandemic and the livelihood of the people being secured.

“Sarawak’s economy is impacted by the pandemic with negative growth expected across all economic sectors over the past months. We must adjust ourselves and adapt to the new normal.”

“With that, we are hopeful that our state government would come up with effective measures and strategies to help and enable the private sector to excel and prosper in the post-pandemic era,” said Chai.

Abang Johari will be making a special address on ‘Sarawak Post-Covid-19 Development Strategy 2030’ tomorrow (July 22) and it will be broadcast live via the state Public Communication Unit’s (Ukas) YouTube and Facebook channels.