MIRI (Oct 9): The state government should include micro businesses in the RM10,000 financial aid for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) under Sarawakku Sayang Special Assistance (BKSS) 7.0, said Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak secretary Alan Ling.
In pointing this out, he said that the assistance application for SMEs was supposed to be channelled in September but had been postponed to this month, which is still time consuming.
“Traders registered with Social Security Organisation (Socso) received a notification email on Oct 1 while the financial assistance application is opened to SMEs from Oct 7 to 22 to submit their supporting documents.
“The documents also require verification of the original copies before the document application is uploaded during the online application. This makes it difficult for the applicants to get the original copy verification especially at a time when it is risky to move about,” he said when met yesterday.
He appealed for the process to be simplified as company information could be obtained from government agencies such as Socso and others for verification purposes.
Ling also hoped that the category of recipients can be expanded, to include small traders in Sarawak other than SMEs registered with Socso.
“I received complaints that only SMEs with at least five employees contributing to Socso and a yearly turnover in excess of RM300,000 are eligible for BKSS 7.0. Business transactions were definitely affected last year and many SMEs may not be able to meet the requirements.
“The state government should be considerate and relax the eligibility requirements to help SMEs that are experiencing cash flow and other problems brought about by the pandemic.
“Before the pandemic, SMEs did not rely on government assistance but now, during such an economic recovery period, such assistance is needed so that they can continue to operate,” said Ling.
Ling, who is also Pakatan Harapan (PH) Sarawak secretary, said SMEs in the state not only contributed to economic development but also created employment opportunities for the people.
“If SMEs face difficulties in continuing their business, then many people will lose their jobs or their salaries cut. This will make it difficult for workers and their families to live their daily lives,” he added.
Due to the delay in Phase 1 payment to SMEs amounting to RM5,000 which should have been paid in September, Ling called on the state government to consider giving a one-off payment this month or in November.