Sarawak needs second relief package

David Wong Kee Woan

KUCHING: The state government has been urged to introduce a second economic relief package targeted towards the small medium enterprises (SMEs) and the private sector.

Pelawan assemblyman David Wong Kee Woan said the first package has its shortcomings as the M40, the self-employed, unemployed graduates, seniors, small businesses and SMEs were excluded for the cash handout.

“Singapore has announced a budget of SGD48 billion and our chief minister can use that as a guideline to formulate the second relief package.

“Quick and sufficient cash handout to all above 21 years old as well as all self-employed, grants to SMEs to protect jobs among others,” he said in a statement yesterday.

Wong proposed that the second relief package included a subsidy to SMEs that covers up to 50 percent of their employees’ wages for six months.

“Interest-free soft loans should be given to the SMEs in Sarawak to boost up their liquidity position and as business capital to help them in order to save jobs of the employees.

“All Sarawakians in the private sector should also be given cash handout of RM1,000 to help them deal with the loss of incomes under the movement control order (MCO).

Wong said with the state’s reserves totalling more than RM30 billion and the additional State Sales Tax (SST) collection from petroleum products, the state government was in a good financial position to aid the people.

He said saving businesses and safeguarding jobs of Sarawakians in the private sector were critical.

“It is time to act now as the Sarawak State Legislative Assembly (DUN) shall meet on the April 16 and the state government can table the first and second economic stimulus package for the august House to pass,” he said.