Sarawak govt urged to extend aid to majority SME-operated sectors

Kho Teck Wan

KUCHING, June 1: SUPP Women’s chief Kho Teck Wan is urging the Sarawak government to consider extending the ‘Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang’ aid to salons, spas, photo studios, and gym or fitness centres.

Since the implementation of the Movement Control Order (MCO) on March 18 followed by the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) until June 9, these businesses have been required to temporarily shut their operations to avoid close contact with customers as one of the measures to stop the spread of Covid-19.

“The majority of these businesses are operated by small business owners who had complied with the federal and state governments’ orders by closing their doors since March 2020. These business owners choose to close their doors because they understand their roles in keeping our community safe.

“However, some owners have been actively proposing many Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to the government in preparation to reopen for business in the future,” the Sarawak United Peoples’ Party (SUPP) leader revealed in a statement.

She pointed out that the majority of these businesses employed skilled and semi-skilled local professionals, and thus, closing such businesses will greatly impact the economic recovery process.

Kho added that some of these employees were placed on volunteer unpaid leave to help their employers sustain their businesses and retain their employment.

“With such a good compliance and understanding amongst these business communities which are still banned from operating their businesses, I urge our Sarawak government to provide some sort of special business relief grant or loan to these business owners.

“To acknowledge the employees’ sacrifices, I humbly appeal to our Sarawak government to consider my request of a one-time special assistance to hairdressers, makeup artists, trainers, sports coaches, gym and fitness instructors, photographers, and swimming instructors,” she added. — DayakDaily