Sheda Kuching hopes state govt will extend BKSS aid

Datuk Sim Kiang Chiok

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KUCHING, Jan 19: Following the announcement of the ‘Perlindungan Ekonomi dan Rakyat Malaysia’ (Permai) initiative by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday, Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers’ Association (Sheda) Kuching chairman Datuk Sim Kiang Chiok hopes that the state government will similarly further assist Sarawakians through the Bantuan Khas Sarawakku Sayang (BKSS) initiative.

“For Sarawak, my hope is that, our state government will also help us further to reduce and delay all collection of our statutory rates, assessment utilities, and extend BKSS initiatives. This will help all Sarawakians to go through this pandemic,” Sim said in a statement today.

So far, the Sarawak government has allocated some RM2.5 billion in BKSS initiatives benefiting Sarawakians, after the Movement Control Order (MCO) last year until now.

On the Permai initiative, Sim said it was timely in view of the enforcement of MCO 2.0 and the Emergency Ordinance (EO).

“Most of the Covid-19 assistance under Penjana expired end of last year and Permai is to extend those essential assistance in helping out for our health, livelihoods and businesses against this deadly virus.

“The announcement has also indicated that the vaccination plan will start in March and end in the first quarter of next year. There will be an increase in health workers to assist in the vaccination plan,” he said.

He noted that assistance for the people’s livelihoods will be continued under Permai with cash handouts and several initiatives for businesses to stay afloat under MCO 2.0.

“Most of the assistance expected are in Permai. However the request from most businesses are wage subsidy and automatic moratorium for bank loan,” he said.

Sim expressed disappointment that wage subsidies only applied to MCO zones and are effective for only one month.

“My hope is that it can be extended for all states and for at least three months. This will assist in reducing unemployment and help businesses to maintain their production capacity when the pandemic is over,” he said.

He also wants the federal government to extent the automatic moratorium for bank loans as anticipated by many business sectors.

“Under Permai, the government has not instruct the banks for automatic moratorium but left it to the respective banks to deal with individual application which is most disappointing,” he said.

He added that extending the automatic moratorium would give businesses and households more breathing space to survive through this economically difficult time. — DayakDaily