Call to classify CMCO as lockdown to ensure Sarawak’s business community not left out of federal aid

Dato Sim Kiang Chiok

KUCHING, May 25: Sarawak should call the recent Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) a lockdown as all the standard operating procedures are almost the same as those in Peninsular Malaysia, to allow Sarawakians to be qualified for any assistance provided by the federal government.

Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers’ Association (Sheda) Kuching chairman Dato Sim Kiang Chiok who stated this, believed that Sarawak business owners are as affected by Covid-19 under the CMCO, as their peers in Peninsular Malaysia under MCO.

“If there is any new assistance from the federal government, we don’t want to be disqualified such as under Permai package on the wage subsidies where the MCO 2.0 is almost the same as our CMCO, and under the present Pemerkasa Package announced in March 17, 2021 by our Prime Minister, where targeted industries such as tourism sector, wholesale and retail trade, as well as other businesses closed such as gymnasium and spa sports centres, qualified for three months’ wage subsidies till June 2021 under MCO 2.0,” said Sim in a statement today.

According to Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s speech on March 12, 2021, “…the Government is aware that there are still sectors that are affected. Therefore, the Government will allocate 700 million ringgit to extend the Wage Subsidy Programme 3.0 for another three months in a more targeted manner. This is mainly to the tourism sector, wholesale and retail trade, as well as other businesses closed during the PKP such as gymnasium and spa sports centres. This initiative is expected to help 400 thousand workers and 37 thousand employers”.

“I hope our State government will reclassify our present lockdown as MCO 3.0 too so as not to lose out on any assistance from our federal government that our businesses and employees badly need,” said Sim.

He said business owners are still recovering from the MCO 1.0 and MCO 2.0, and most of them are still struggling to turn over business volume to cover their overhead.

“Businesses and industries need to be extra resilient to go through this tough time and all banks and our government must assist to ensure minimum business closure due to various lockdown measures to stop the spread of the virus.

“Our federal government should extend the wage subsidy to Sarawak, automatic bank loan moratorium, cash handouts especially for the small traders, hawkers and daily paid workers while at the same time, relaxing collection of income tax and other duties and taxes,” said Sim.

He said the Sarawak government could also delay collection and extend discounts on utilities charges, assessment and land rates, licensing fees and other state statutory taxes while extending cash assistance to small traders and hawkers just like the assistance it gave under Bamtuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang during MCO 1.0. — DayakDaily