Small businesses cry out for help

KUCHING: Local SMEs (Small Medium Enterprises) players are excitedly waiting for the economic stimulus package to inject life into their ailing businesses.

On March 21, the state government said it will introduce a special economic stimulus package to assist sectors affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the package would be announced later today.

“We call it the Economic Aid Package,” he told reporters after chairing a Sarawak State Security Council meeting here.

It is understood that the package would cover several sectors, including helping small businesses.

New Sarawak Tribune reached out to local entrepreneurs and business owners whose trades were affected during Movement Control Order (MCO) since March 18.

Hazirah Abu Bakar

Hazirah Abu Bakar, 24, a gift shop owner said business owners are hoping that the initiative will help keep their business afloat.

“Without daily sales, we just can’t buy things we need like paying the bills, buying medicine and so on. Yes, we do have our own savings but without daily sales, it won’t last long.

“I hope this initiative by the government can help us in everything that we need so that we can stay at home, stay safe without worrying about how we would fare the next day when we get nothing from our business,” she said.

Nur Ivy Eena

Nur Ivy Eena, 24, a cosmetics and clothing online business owner, said the Covid-19 pandemic has greatly affected her business.

“I hope that this package will support household and business expenses for small business owners like us.

“We fully rely on our business as our income to support the household and personal necessities like loans. I really hope the package also includes incentives from banks,” she added.

Leandro Mcrae

For Leandro Mcrae, 24, a local cleaning service business owner, said he is looking forward to what the package actually is.

“I hope the economic stimulus package will be able to help affected traders, especially for small traders who still rely on ‘kais pagi makan pagi, kais petang makan petang’ (hand-to-mouth existence). Small traders like coffee stall holders should be assisted first,” he stated.

Siti Norliza Montol

Siti Norliza Montol, 32, a homemade food business owner, said that she appreciates the move that the state government is taking to help businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The MCO affects small players like us the most. My source of income is totally cut off, but as a responsible citizen, I still need to abide by the order.

Solma Nawawi

“But yes, seriously, I do look forward to the kind of help the stimulus package can do.”

Solma Nawawi, 53, an eatery business owner also shared expressed similar opinion, saying: “Please help the low-income group (B40) to meet their daily needs such as the utilities bills.”

Ibrahim Edi

Ibrahim Edi, 52, a small business owner, said: “As a small businessman, I have lost my only source of income for my family.

“We are living on our meagre savings. For how long, I don’t know, but I just hope the stimulus package will include traders like me.”