Kudos to state government for aid initiatives

Jaziri Alkaf A. Suffian

KUCHING: Sarawak Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman Jaziri Alkaf A. Suffian has expressed hopes for the state’s economy to recover as more businesses and enterprises can operate in Phase Three of the National Recovery Plan (NRP).

He commended Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg’s efforts to ensure that the Covid-19 infections are under control.

He said the chief minister had also enabled the people and businesses to recover and survive with the recent allocation of over RM800mil in the Sarawakku Sayang Special Assistance (BKSS) 7.0.

“The measures taken have been significant in helping traders and entrepreneurs to continue with their business through BKSS 7.0, including a special financial assistance of RM10,000 to active businesses in the state registered with the Social Security Organisation (Perkeso) as of Dec  31 last year.

“Assistance like this will benefit small and medium enterprises too, and it is believed that the numbers have reached almost 40,000.

“The assistance will help reduce the burden of those starting their businesses like rent and salaries as well as start-up capital,” he said on Thursday (Aug 5).

Jaziri, who is also the chairman of Sarawak Bumiputera Contractors Organisation, pointed out that the government’s policy to help the construction sector was interesting.

“Contractors will be given an extension of time (EOT) period automatically considering the impacts of movement control order (MCO) 3.0 based on the period of MCO gazzetted for projects being developed with completion period not within MCO 3.0.

“Many contractors are facing problems in completing projects due to the pandemic such as the closure of construction sites, lack of workers to complete projects and difficulties in obtaining building materials among others.

“Thus, the state government’s announcement on how projects with completion date scheduled to end within the MCO 3.0 period will be given a maximum EOT of 60 days will help to reduce the burden on affected contractors.”

At the same time, he said the state government’s initiative to allow price variations for government contract works due to the significant increase in the price of building materials was commendable.

He also said contractors are facing relatively severe losses due to the volatile increase in price of building materials because of the pandemic and this affected the completion of projects as well as difficulties in obtaining supplies of building materials.