State government to implement own wage subsidy programme, asked SBF

Jonathan Chai Voon Tok

KUCHING: Sarawak Business Federation (SBF) secretary-general Jonathan Chai Voon Tok hopes that the state government would be able to come up with a comprehensive wage subsidy programme to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the state.

“Such direct financial assistance will definitely help to keep a lot of struggling businesses afloat and thereby save many employees as they can keep their jobs,” he said today.

Under the federal government’s Malaysian Economic and Rakyat’s Protection Assistance Package (Permai), the wage subsidy programme will only cover employers operating in movement control order (MCO) states.

At the same time, he expressed gratitude for the prompt response of the state government in coming up with another round of the Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang (BKSS) 5.0 package.

“Any form of financial assistance from the government would be helpful for the people and businesses in this very challenging and difficult time,” said Chai, who is also Kuching Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCGCCI) secretary- general.

He noted that some of the measures had already been put into place previously, and the state government was now prolonging their implementation.

“This is so that the affected individuals and businesses can get extended help,” he said.

The RM405 million BKSS 5.0 package was announced by Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg earlier on Thursday, encompassing 11 measures to reduce the burden of Sarawakians until June.

These initiatives included the extension of utility discounts; 50 percent discount for market and stall rentals for six months; 25 percent discount on assessment rates over RM400 for residential premises, commercial, industrial and special holdings premises until June; 50 percent rental discount for Housing Development Corporation (HDC) housing schemes, and more.