Provide more aid for small businesses

Bell Bernard Anggan

KUCHING:  All business chamber associations must come together to appeal to the government to provide more assistance to small business operators, hawkers and petty traders, said Bell Bernard Anggan.

The Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) treasurer-general said that another stimulus package can be introduced to help those who are affected.

This is following the recent announcement by the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee (SDMC) on the extension of the conditional movement control order (CMCO) statewide from Jan 18 to 31.

“The extension of CMCO will bring a 10 to 30 percent drop in their sales due to shorter business hours. Moreover, the current flood problems have also become another contributing factor,” he said.

Bell advised that some of the best strategies that may help include wage subsidy programmes, extending the moratorium on repayment of loans, and the waiving of council fees during this period.

Jonathan Chai Voon Tok

Meanwhile, Sarawak Business Federation secretary-general Jonathan Chai Voon Tok also said that the federal government should consider immediate relief measures to mitigate the effects of the second movement control order (MCO) and state of emergency recently declared nationwide.

“I hope that the government would reintroduce the wage subsidy programme to help the small medium enterprises (SMEs) as well as to provide a one-off financial grant to the small traders and microenterprises. This will ease their cash flow problems,” he added.

He also hopes that the state government would continue to provide assistance that can create a huge spinoff to the local economy.

“It is best if the state government would continue to provide discount for assessment rates and utilities for a longer period of time and possibly give a cash hand out to every Sarawakian to stimulate consumption in the market. This would create a huge spinoff to the local economy,” he said.

In saying this, he pointed out that some businesses have just begun to recover but the situation was reversed with the sudden spike in positive cases and the implementation of MCO as well as CMCO.