Sarawak DAP proposes RM1,500 cash handout to every hawker, petty trader

Chong Chieng Jen

KUCHING, May 13: Sarawak Democratic Action Party (DAP) is proposing to the Sarawak government to give RM1,500 cash assistance to every hawker and petty trader in Sarawak since they are more in need of such assistance now than one year ago.

Its chairman Chong Chieng Jen said during the early outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, there were announcements of the “Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang” assistance packages but it seemed that the Gabungan Parti Sarawak (GPS) government is no longer “Sarawakku Sayang” (loving Sarawak).

He noted the State government has a RM26 billion reserve fund and that only a 10 per cent allocation of this fund is sufficient to cushion the economic impacts on Sarawak businesses, but the government is refusing to do so.

“While even the most prudent government of Singapore has dug into their reserves to help the business sector and the people of Singapore, it does not make any sense that the GPS government continues to be obstinate in not utilising the fund to help the people of Sarawak, unless the State government has difficulty in liquidating and utilising even 10 pct of the reserve fund for the people,” he said in a statement today.

Noting that State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC)’s implementation of standard operating procedures (SOPs) during Sarawak’s Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) is almost the same as the MCO in other states in Malaysia, he said business sectors and the people are equally suffering despite it being called CMCO.

Thus, Chong on behalf of Sarawak DAP also proposed that the Sarawak government provide RM500 million in interest-free loans to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and another RM100 million grant for SME transformation into e-commerce and digitalisation.

He also said a 50 per cent wage subsidy should be given to Sarawak SMEs for three months to maintain their workforce while similar assistance grants ought to be directed to those sectors which have been ordered to close down due to Covid-19.

“We urge the State government to put the people’s interest at heart. This is the time to help the people and there is no point for the government to keep saying that Sarawak is rich and has a lot of reserves but such riches are not utilised to help the people at such time of difficulty,” he added. — DayakDaily