Padungan rep calls for S’wak gov’t to help SMEs with RM31bln reserve fund

Wong at a press conference in Kuching today (July 17, 2019).

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KUCHING, Apr 3: Padungan assemblyman Wong King Wei calls for the Sarawak government to use its reserve to help the small and medium enterprises in the State.

“The Sarawak state government, having reserve fund of RM31 billion, should reach out to the SMEs in the state. It is the right time to use part of the fund. Reserve fund is meant for emergency use and for the common benefit Sarawakians.

“We DAP Sarawak have proposed that the state government bears 50 per cent of the employees’ salary for six months, to help, especially the SMEs in the state to wade through this difficult time and to revive the businesses,” said Wong in a statement today.

He believed that helping employers help their employees would, in turn, help ensure the sustainability of the state’s economy.

“This is the time for political secretaries to the chief minister to raise this matter so as to help the SMEs in Sarawak, and there are 32 of them (political secretaries),” said Wong.

According to Wong, not only are small and medium enterprises (SMEs) left out of the Prihatin Economic Stimulus Package but their situation has been “aggravated by other assistances by the government”.

He said employers were prohibited from imposing unpaid leave on employees but expected to pay full salaries to their employees while most of these employees are getting financial assistance under the B40 and M40 group.

Under the Movement Control Order (MCO), the majority of businesses are rendered to almost zero revenue and many of these businesses are getting 80 per cent to 90 per cent less revenue, Wong said, and yet, these employers had been asked to assist the government to maintain the income of the employees.

“Now, who is going to help the employers then?”

He said there were nearly one million SMEs in Malaysia, contributing about 38 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country and thus, SMEs have been termed as the “economy backbone” to the country.

“There are predictions of US economists that this pandemic will see the unemployment rate hitting as high as 32 per cent in US. I don’t think Malaysia can escape from any lower percentage than that if the SMEs are not rendered help by the government,” said Wong.—DayakDaily