Less resistance for MCO if State govt provides financial assistance to businesses — PBK

Raymond Thong

By Nur Ashikin Louis

KUCHING, May 4: The implementation of Movement Control Order (MCO) in Sarawak would not face resistance from the business community if the Sarawak government is willing to introduce three to six months’ worth of financial assistance.

Parti Bumi Kenyalang (PBK) Southern Zone director of political affairs, Raymond Thong in a statement today said the Covid-19 situation in Sarawak is worsening by the day with its last Covid-19 holdout district—Simunjan—finally infiltrated by the pandemic when it reported one new case on May 2.

Thong disclosed that he had written to the government on April 19 suggesting that it implement MCO but the latter, he said, responded that the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) was sufficient.

“Maybe they chose CMCO because they caved in to pressure from the business community especially the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), retail businesses, the stall operators, the fear of more private workers losing their jobs and leaders from the business community.

“[The business fraternity believe] that if MCO is implemented, it would have devastating consequences on their business and will result in more closures and business failures and jobs lost.

“If the government is willing to come up with three to six months’ financial assistance to help the SMEs, retail business, the stall operators and private workers’ salary, we are confident they will be most happy to temporarily stop their business to help control the pandemic,” he said.

Thong noted however, there is no indication so far that the government is willing to assist people who will be affected the most financially if MCO is implemented.

“Given a choice and if the government provides financial assistance for them, these business communities would prefer MCO to be implemented to effectively control the pandemic so that their business could reopen and return to normal within the shortest time possible.

“To them, short-term pain with government financial assistance is much better than long-term suffering from their poor business without government assistance,” he added.

He further urged the Sarawak government to dig into its reserves to help the people and business community in need of financial assistance to better control the pandemic. — DayakDaily