KUCHING: Amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, traders can breathe a sigh of relief with the recent implementation of the Sarawakku Sayang Special Assistance (BKSS) 7.0.
Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said that the package is worth more than RM800 million and comprises three measures — one-off financial assistance to active businesses; relaxation of government procurement policy due to Covid-19 and renewal of foreign workers employment permits.
He pointed out under the first measure, the government will grant RM10,000 in one-time financial assistance to active enterprises registered with the Social Security Organisation (Socso) in Sarawak as of December 31 last year.
“I have received requests for financial support from business associations and federations to help them sustain their businesses, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs),” he said on Wednesday.
“It is hoped that these measures will assist in the continuation of industrial and business activities in Sarawak that are part of the National Recovery Plan, as well as contribute to driving our economy forward,” he said.
New Sarawak Tribune managed to get the opinions of traders regarding the announcement of the recent BKSS 7.0:
ELISA AZURA ALI, 40
Owner of Azura’s Hamper & Gift Supply
I am relieved to hear the news and I am sure many others are as well. The criteria for the aid are fair for all traders because they will be traced through Socso, and so there will be no bias decisions. I hope that the state government would continue to provide aid like this in the future, to ensure all businesses will sustain through the pandemic.
ABANG ARSHAD & ABANG ZAINAL
Owners of Fauziah Family Café
The state’s assistance for traders is greatly appreciated. However, we believe that the size of the company matters a lot. Some traders may consider the assistance generous, while others may disagree due to their large financial commitments. Overall, this is a great initiative to assist the traders and I hope many traders would benefit from this aid.
FADZILLAH MOHAMAD, 35
Owner of Hamamatsu Automotive Maintenance Services
I’d like to express my gratitude to the state government for taking the time to listen to our concerns and for expressing compassion for us. The assistance will relieve most of our financial strain as it can be used to cover a variety of expenses, such as rent and working capital. The assistance introduced during this time of need is extremely useful for all traders.
CLEMENT YEO, 29
Owner of Union Stationary
I am grateful that the state government provides such assistance. It makes no difference how much of the sum is contributed; people will still be grateful for it. Since it’s so new and doesn’t supply much information, for now, I’m open to all possibilities. If I am eligible for the assistance, I am delighted but if not, I hope that the funds would be channelled to those who require it more urgently than I do.
HELEN HONG, 27
Owner of J.H Salon
The aid will undoubtedly assist us in paying the workers’ wages and rent. Since we can only cut our customers’ hair and cannot provide extra hair treatment, our business has been declining. Hopefully, with the aid, we will be able to cover our expenses for at least two months and I’m hopeful that the government will be able to process it more quickly, as many people will wait for it.
DASUKI AZAHARI, 28
Owner of Banner King
This is certainly good news during a pandemic. Traders will be able to pay off part of their commitments with assistance, which is critical to ensuring the survival of their businesses. I hope that all eligible traders will receive the aid and that the government will not overlook any traders who have signed up for Socso.