Wage subsidy for bosses proposed

Andrew Lo

KUCHING: Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) Sarawak and Sarawak Bank Employees’ Union (SBEU) have welcomed the state government’s Sarawakku Sayang Special Assistance 5.0 (BKSS 5.0) package, but believe that more can be done.

“We believe that more can be done to not only alleviate the suffering of the people but to stimulate the economy by putting more cash into the economy,” said MTUC Sarawak secretary Andrew Lo.

The SBEU chief executive officer said the federal government had failed to provide much needed support to the private sector. Hence, he urged the state government to provide a wage subsidy to employers in Sarawak to maintain employment for their workers.

He said that instead of spending billions on projects such as the Sarawak-Indonesia border wall and the second highway from Biawak to Lawas, those funds could be used for the wage subsidy.

“Such grandiose projects including 7G, light rapid transit (LRT), and Second Trunk Road only put money into selected few contractors — who more often than not park the wealth outside Sarawak.

“Any job creation will be short-term and for thousands of foreign construction workers,” he said.

Lo said that when cash was made available to employers via a wage subsidy, workers would also benefit and have money to spend.

“This in turn will increase domestic consumption and sustain businesses in the state,” he added.

On Thursday, Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg announced the BKSS 5.0 package worth RM405 million, comprising 11 measures to reduce the burden of Sarawakians until June.