RM10’000 Cash Aid, Why GPS left Out More Than 44’000 Small Businesses In Sarawak?


Press Statement By Julian Tan:

The Sarawak State government to be more transparent in the disbursement of the BKSS 7.0 RM10k cash aid meant to help Sarawak businesses. It is most regrettable that the initiative announced in Aug turns out to be a disappointment for many businesses in Sarawak that truly needed the help amid the pandemic crisis. Not all are eligible, and there are many conditions attached. According to the Economic Planning Unit, the RM10’000 cash aid would be an automatic disbursement back in August. There is no need for businesses to apply for it.

The joy was short-lived. Instead of receiving the cash aid by now, applicants are given two weeks to submit required documents or miss out on the cash aid. Most ironic of all, all the requested documents can be made readily available to the State Government. Why the need to add further hardship to the business owners? Is it not Sarawak State Government Vision for Sarawak to go digital and high-tech, yet the state government can’t even automate the process with information already available to them? We even once told Sarawakian to ‘…move to high tech sector or be left behind…’, yet, for the cash aid, the website was down and inaccessible by many, the hotline became a ‘no-through line, not surprisingly. Already many are struggling to combat the pandemic. The unnecessary process also means superfluous waste of time for many, which otherwise can be used to build their business.

Had the State Government tried out their website and upload the necessary documents? How can the State government expect applicants to complete the submission in 2 weeks when applicants face many issues with the website? Many required documents were deemed unnecessary and outdated, thus causes much confusion. For example, one feedback was applicants are compulsory to upload forms 9, 24, 44, 49. Yet, under the Company Act 2016, the newly registered company will do away with the old forms since the new Act. It is replaced with Section 14 (AKA Super form), 15, 17, and Section 58 & 236(2). The website could at least be relevant and provide some info to ease the application process. There is also feedback that some uploads can only take a specific format of file type and not the listed file types; otherwise, the submission will not get through. The ‘no-through hotline is not helping either.

Sadly, the RM10’000 cash aid also will not benefit more than 44’000 traders and small businesses from this cash aid. They too contribute to our State’s GDP, and they also suffer tremendously under the Covid-19 pandemic. To exclude them from BKSS 7.0 financial aids is thus most unfair to them. To further rubbed salt into the wound, those that have received GKP would also not be eligible to receive any federal government aid nor BKSS. Let us not forget they too contribute significantly to job creation. Many had already lost their jobs as many businesses in this category folded, primarily due to prolonged lock-down. Therefore, it is vital that the State Government adjust the criteria for the BKSS 7.0 financial aids to include this group of business entities in the said aids.

Julian Tan
Special assistant to YB Chong Chieng Jen