Statement by Michael Kong:
The economic stimulus package announced by the Prime Minister on 27.03.2020 has failed to provide sufficient assistance to the Small Medium Enterprise (SME) in the country.
Other than the loan deferments for a period of 6 months, presently, there is no assistance from our government (both state and federal government) which would directly benefit the early-childhood education sector such as child care centres, kindergartens and even tuition centres.
These centres are currently being pressured to give discounts or waive fees for the MCO period. To make matter worse, there is no indication whether this MCO will end on 14.04.2020 or whether it will be further extended. Even if it ends on 14.04.2020 based on the announcement thus far, most parents would still not take the risk of sending their children back to the childcare centres, kindergardens and tuition centres immediately upon expiry of the MCO. Most likely, it will take another few weeks before the parents will start sending their children back to these centres.
During this MCO period, these education providers will have to pay their teachers and employees full salaries. Many operators are deeply affected and are even considering winding up their operations if the situation persists any longer than it already has.
We understand that some other learning institutions are resorting to e-learning, but for early childcare and learning which need more personal attention, e-learning is quite impossible.
This sector of economy has substantial employees and if they start closing down, many will lose their jobs.
I thus call upon the Government to take quick action to help these early child care or learning centres before they start closing down or retrenching their employees.