KUCHING, Jan 20: Democratic Action Party (DAP) Sarawak says employers from Sibu Division are entitled to apply for Wage Subsidy Programme 3.0 (WSP 3.0).
Its chief Chong Chieng Jen said he had check with Perkeso (Social Security Organisation) which has been entrusted to implement WSP 3.0 and was informed that even though Sarawak is not a State under Movement Control Order (MCO), employers from Sibu, Selangau and Kanowit districts, the MCO area, are entitled to apply for the WSP 3.0.
Chong also added that employers outside the MCO areas engaging in the tourism and retail industries are also entitled to apply for the WSP 3.0.
To Chong, however, WSP 3.0 is “grossly insufficient” as firstly, it only provides wage subsidy for one month.
Chong said for the greater part of 2020, most businesses had suffered losses and resorted to their reserves to maintain the ongoing concern of the businesses. With the Proclamation of Emergency up to Aug 1, 2021, notwithstanding that at present, the first MCO imposed on the six states was for a 2-week period from Jan 13, 2021, to Jan 26, 2021, and the second MCO was subsequently imposed for another six States from Jan 22, 2021, to Feb 4, 2021, it is most unlikely that economy and business will start recovering in the next three months.
The Stampin MP then pointed out that employers outside the MCO areas, which is the whole of Sarawak other than Sibu Selangau and Kanowit districts, will not receive any wage subsidy unless they are involved in the tourism and retail businesses.
“All businesses are affected by the MCO, especially the manufacturing and service sectors have been tremendously affected, yet they are not entitled to the subsidy program. They are also struggling to survive, yet excluded from the assistance of the government,” said Chong.
He held that since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Sarawak State Government which has been boasting for having huge reserves has not done much to help the Sarawak SMEs (small and medium enterprises) to cushion the heavy burden of paying wages for the employees.
“The announcements of the infrastructural projects by the State Government may have helped the construction sector, but the construction sector contributes to less than 10 per cent of the State’s GDP.
“With the State Government mainly focusing a major portion of its development expenditure only on the construction sector, the other sectors are left high and dry under the present economic slowdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,” said Chong who is also Kota Sentosa assemblyman.
He thus proposed that the State Government should implement the State’s Wage Subsidy Program to supplement the insufficiency of the Federal’s WSP 3.0.
The State’s Wage Subsidy Program, he said, should cover the followings all loss-making employers whose businesses are still on-going in the State for a period of three months; and retrenched employees to be given unemployment benefit for a period of three months.
“Besides the wage subsidy program, the State Government should also implement other stimulus packages and grants for Sarawak SMEs,” said Chong. – DayakDaily