Chong Urges State Government To Implement Sarawak’s Wage Subsidy Program To Supplement The Insufficiency of Federal’s WSP 3.0

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Press Statement By Chong Chieng Jen:

I have checked with the PERKESO the agency to implement Wage Subsidy Program 3.0 (WSP 3.0) and was informed that even though Sarawak is not a State under MCO, employers from Sibu, Selangau and Kanowit districts, the MCO area, are entitled to apply for the WSP 3.0.

Meanwhile, employers outside the MCO areas engaging in the tourism and retail industries are also entitled to apply for the WSP 3.0.

It is our view that the WSP 3.0 is grossly insufficient:

  • 1.the WSP 3.0 only provides wage subsidy for one month.

For the greater part of 2020, most businesses had suffered losses and resorted to their reserves to maintain the ongoing concern of the businesses. With the Proclamation of Emergency up to 1-8-2021, notwithstanding that at present the first MCO imposed on the 6 states was for a 2-week period from 13-1-2021 to 26-1-2021 and the second MCO was subsequently imposed for another 6 States from 22-1-2021 to 4-2-2021, it is most unlikely that economy and business will start recovering in the next 3 months.

  • 2.Employers outside the MCO areas, which is the whole of Sarawak other than Sibu Selangau and Kanowit districts, will not receive any wage subsidy unless they are involved in the tourism and retail businesses.

All businesses are affected by the MCO, especially the manufacturing and service sectors have been tremendously affected, yet they are not entitled to the subsidy program. They are also struggling to survive, yet excluded from the assistance of the government.

The Federal Government may be under huge financial constrain due to the high Government debt level. But the State Government has always boasted of having huge reserves.

Yet, since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Sarawak State Government has not done much to help the Sarawak SMEs to cushion the heavy burden of paying wages for the employees.

The announcements of the infrastructural projects by the State Government may have helped the construction sector, but the construction sector contributes to less than 10% of the State’s GDP. With the State Government mainly focusing a major portion of its development expenditure only on the construction sector, the other sectors are left high and dry under the present economic slowdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The DAP Sarawak proposes that the State Government to implement the State’s Wage Subsidy Program to supplement the insufficiency of the Federal’s WSP 3.0.

The State’s Wage Subsidy Program should cover the followings:

  1. all loss-making employers whose businesses are still on-going in the State for a period of 3 months; and
  2. retrenched employees to be given unemployment benefit for a period of 3 months.

Besides the wage subsidy program, the State Government should also implement other stimulus packages and grants for Sarawak SMEs.

20-1-2021
Chong Chieng Jen
DAP Sarawak Chairman