Chong: One-off RM10,000 aid falls short of helping medium and large-sized companies

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KUCHING, Aug 5: The RM10,000 one-off financial aid under Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang 7.0 (BKSS 7.0) package is far too little to help medium and large-sized companies affected by the current Covid-19 pandemic.

Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) chief Chong Chieng Jen said such one-size-fit-all financial aid may be good enough for small businesses, but it is not helpful at all to the medium-sized or large-sized businesses.

“It only shows that the GPS (Gabungan Parti Sarawak) government did not put much thought into the measure to truly help the business sectors,” said Chong in a press statement today.

According to the government’s earlier announcement, the said RM10,000 one-off aid will be paid in two instalments of RM5,000 over a period of four months, namely, in September and December 2021.

Only companies registered in Sarawak which are registered with Social Security Organisation (Socso) are eligible for it.

To put this into perspective, Chong cited a company having about 10 employees as an example where minimum wages, EPF contributions, rental and other operation costs may easily total RM30,000 per month.

He thus estimated that from now to the end of the year, the costs will be at least RM150,000 and concluded that the RM10,000 one-off aid is less than 10 per cent of the costs.

“In reality, there are thousands of businesses having more than 10 employees. For them, this RM10,000 one-off aid is only a drop of the ocean. It is far too little,” said Chong who is also the Kota Sentosa assemblyman.

He pointed out that one-man shows or owner-operation businesses run solely by the owners of the companies will be left out because it is unnecessary for these companies to register with Socso.

“After 18 months into the pandemic, this is the first time the State government is actually giving some substantial financial assistance to businesses in Sarawak.

“Despite such long delay in providing financial aid to businesses, the amount now announced is still too little.”

Chong opined the State government should make some adjustments to the measure.

Firstly, he said, the government should introduce a multi-tier financial aid grant to Sarawak businesses according to the sizes of employment of the companies and not use a one-size-fits-all measure.

Secondly, the financial aid should cover at least 30 per cent of the monthly wage expenses of the companies up to the end of the year.

Thirdly, Chong who is also the Stampin MP said, companies not registered with Socso should also be entitled to the aid. — DayakDaily