Awang Tengah: Sarawakku Sayang Special Aid possible cos of state govt’s prudent financial mgt

Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan

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KUCHING, April 14: Prudent and disciplined financial management practices have enabled the Sarawak government to roll out the RM2.254 billion Sarawakku Sayang Special Aid (SSSA) to assist the raykat and business communities in times of crisis like the current Covid-19 outbreak.

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan pointed out that the state government has accumulated sufficient financial surpluses over the years to make the special aid possible.

“The SSSA Packages 1 and 2 provided by the Sarawak government will give a lifeline to our rakyat, the SMEs (small and medium enterprises), micro entrepreneurs, hawkers and petty traders during this challenging time.

“For this, we must thank the Chief Minister (Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg) for being very caring towards the needs of Sarawakians,” he emphasised in a statement today.

Both the federal government’s Prihatin Economic Stimulus Package and state government’s SSSA, Awang Tengah pointed out, are meant to assist the people, particularly the lower income (B40), middle income (M40) and the business community in general to mitigate the impact of Covid-19.

Awang Tengah however reiterated that the SSSA Package 1.0 totalling RM1.154 billion which aims to benefit the whole of society and Package 2.0 worth RM1.1 billion targeting the business community were over and above the assistance provided by the federal government.

“Hopefully, these stimulus packages will bring relief and confidence especially to the SMEs, micro enterprises, hawkers and petty traders and enable them to move forward with more resilience to overcome the impact of the Covid-19 crisis,” he said.

He noted that the current Covid-19 pandemic has brought untold hardship to the world and Sarawak was no exception while the Movement Control Order (MCO) has impacted the country’s economy.

“As we experienced MCO for the first time, many of us were caught unprepared. As a result, many of our SMEs, particularly the micro enterprises are now facing financial difficulties.

“For the rakyat and the business communities, life will not be the same post-MCO where the need for social distancing will be more evident. The business landscape has changed dramatically,” he added.

As such, Awang Tengah urged Sarawak’s SMEs and micro entrepreneurs to change their business models, be more creative and innovative, move their businesses online and take advantage of technologies such as digitalisation and automation.

“For example, in the coming Ramadan month, SMEs and petty traders could move their businesses online through various e-bazaar platforms where drive-thru, pack and pick-up, and e-hailing delivery could be arranged.

“This should be encouraged so as to avoid unnecessary physical contact during this crisis period at the Ramadan bazaar to pick our food. I hope you will stay at home, stay safe and pray that the Covid-19 can be controlled and the MCO can be lifted as soon as possible,” he urged. — DayakDaily