Consider livelihood of rakyat before shutting down economy

Datuk Abang Helmi Ikhwan

KUCHING: Sarawak should not undergo economic shutdown as the Covid-19 cases are not as much as the Malaya’s.

Sarawak Chamber of Bumiputera Entrepreneurs (DUBS) president Datuk Abang Helmi Ikhwan stated that the economic shutdown on the whole country is inconceivable as the livelihood of people needs to be considered despite the rise in Covid-19 cases.

“Since there are a large number of cases coming from industrial workers quarters, the government should prioritise vaccination towards these workers based in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor.

“Looking at the Covid-19 cases in Sarawak and its infected location, I do not think that there is any need for us to go through total economic shutdown. This is because the economic cost would be too huge for Sarawak to bear,” he said.

Meanwhile, Abang Helmi expressed that the question of loan moratorium has been a complicated issue.

“Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) originally allowed for automatic loan moratorium last year, but later shifted to a more focused policy of moratorium which is targeted to businesses that need it most.

“This targeted approach is more suitable as it is supposed to assist those that need it most while at the same time does not cause undue stress to the banking sector. However, automatic loan moratorium is only shifting the business burden to the banks, and this presents big risk to the banking sector,” he added.

In his views on the Wage Subsidy Programme, he stated that the one-month subsidy that was decided by the government is very disappointing.

“By giving only one month to the businesses means that the remaining eleven months of the year, business sectors are expected to go by and survive whilst keeping their workers without the government’s assistance.

“Since there are many employers that cannot afford the said problem due to the pandemic, the unemployment rate in this country will increase drastically,” he said.

He also mentioned that if the federal government are not able to grant further wage subsidy, the state government should step in and contribute their helping hand to the federal government.