Be transparent about RM10 billion grants to SME and EIS, govt told

Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) logo

By Adrian Lim

KUCHING, May 17: The Malaysian Trade Union Congress (MTUC) is calling on the federal government to disclose the recipients of the RM10 billion grants for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and Employers Insurance Scheme (EIS).

Its secretary general J Solomon said today it was crucial for the federal government to make known of the recipients so as to ensure two way-accountability and transparency of the use of taxpayers’ money.

“The RM10 billion is a massive use of public money to help the private sector to mitigate the current (Covid-19) crisis.

“Therefore, there is a great need for the government to be absolutely transparent and make public the list of recipients with a detailed breakdown of the total amount received by them,” he said in a statement.

He said this would facilitate a two-way accountability.

“Firstly, it will enable workers to be ascertain if their employers were granted the Special Relief Facility (SRF) and if so, the value of the assistance.

“This vital information will assist workers who were laid off or forced to take pay cuts despite their employers being given the financial assistance, to bring their case to the relevant authorities,” he added.

Solomon observed that in recent weeks, there has been numerous reports of workers forced to take pay cuts or retrenched by employers which benefitted from the government aid packages such as the SRF.

He opined that the onus of the federal government is to ensure that those funds are not being misused at a time when everyone is chipping in to make sure workers are kept in employment.

Solomon said the federal government must ensure the billions of ringgit in financial assistance achieves its core objective of ensuring workers keep their jobs.

As such, he believed making public the list of SRF recipients will go a long way to ensure such accountability from employers in SMEs.

Besides, he asserted that making the relevant information public will help boost the government’s credibility on transparency.

Apart from SRF, he said the government must also ensure full transparency in the disbursement of funds under the EIS.

Solomon observed that under EIS, there are 205,342 employers which are claiming wage subsidies for nearly 1.7 million workers.

He gathered the amount that is going to be paid out could run into billions which therefore requires close monitoring and scrutiny to ensure the massive outflow of funds from Social Security Organisation (Socso) is not abused by any employer.

Solomon stressed that MTUC’s intention in asking the government to disclose full details of companies or employers which benefited from public funds is not meant to make things tougher for the government in tackling the economic crisis.

However, he believed public accountability and transparency must be upheld at all times to ensure no one is allowed to exploit and profit from the sincere efforts by the government to help workers and keep unemployment as low as possible.

As such, he said the government must make public accountability and transparency a top priority to convince the rakyat that taxpayers’ money is not being want only given without proper oversight and scrutiny. – DayakDaily