MTUC: Set up revolving fund to help low income workers

Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) logo

By Adrian Lim

KUCHING, Feb 20: The Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) is urging the federal government to establish a revolving fund of RM10 billion to help low income workers overcome the challenging economic environment due to Covid-19.

The federation’s secretary-general J Solomon in a statement said the federal government should look into the welfare and the needs of the low income group workers such as the B40 and M40 groups as part of its economic stimulus package.

He opined that the government could use the fund to provide loans at a low interest rate to workers.

“This fund will offer loans up to RM20,000 at a special interest rate of 2.5 per cent annually to workers.

“The quantum of the loan can be based on the applicant’s salaries.

“Repayments can be done through mandatory salary deductions if the government is worried that borrowers will default on repayments.

“The proposed soft loans will go a long way to help lessen the everyday financial burden of the B40 and M40 workers during the crucial months when the full economic impact due to the viral outbreak is felt.

“The money will come in handy to cover the workers’ needs and expenditure at a time when their income is reduced as a result of cost cutting measures by employers,” he said in a statement.

Solomon believed the government could source funds needed for the scheme from well-established government linked companies (GLCs) and financial institutions.

He also believed that the GLCs and financial institutions must step forward to complement the government efforts to directly assist lowly paid workers as they are the most vulnerable group in any economic downturn.

He revealed that MTUC would be submitting the proposal today to the Finance Ministry and the Economic Affairs Ministry for their consideration.

At the same time, he also urged the government to ensure the loan application process was made easy and convenient for low income workers and without collateral.

In the meantime, Solomon noted that the government was set to announce a stimulus package on February 27 to mitigate the economic effects of the Covid-19 virus outbreak.

Thus, he said MTUC expects the fiscal stimulus to cater to the needs of key players in the economy as well as the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

However, for this time, Solomon pointed out that MTUC is strongly urging the government not to forget the plight of millions of workers, mainly from the lowly paid B40 and M40 categories who will be adversely affected by the economic impact of the Covid-19 outbreak.

He believed the needs of these workers were largely ignored in stimulus packages in the past and hoped that the government will do better to help them in their time of need to mitigate the economic impact of the Covid-19 virus outbreak in the coming months. —DayakDaily