Press Statement By David Wong:
Sarawak state government needs to simplify the special one-off RM10,000 cash aid under BKSS 7.0 application and include the micro-enterprises instead of just the small and medium enterprises.
Pelawan assemblyman, David Wong, in a statement said Sarawak state government has to explain why the eligibility criteria and application for the said aid was changed only after the first tranche of payment is already due.
“Why is the state government only changing the eligibility criteria and requiring business owners to apply for the aid now? Businesses were supposed to receive their first cash aid payment by now, but instead they are only given 2 weeks of time to submit their application or miss out the cash aid.”
Previously on August 4, the Sarawak state government announced that it will be giving a special one-off financial assistance of RM10,000 to active SMEs in Sarawak. It was announced that payment will be made directly to eligible companies in two tranches, in September and December 2021, with no applications required.
However, recently it was announced that eligible business owners are now required to apply for the cash aid, where many additional documents and eligibility criteria are added as requirements. Business owners need to obtain a Sarawak ID and upload required documents through Sarawak government portal (www.sarawak.gov.my), application starts from Oct 7 and closes on Oct 22.
“Business owners who missed the letter and think that the application is not required will miss the application. Why is the government making sudden changes to the cash aid eligibility criteria and now requires business owners to submit their applications? It will only cause confusion to the people and make it difficult for businesses to get the aid that they need.”
“First, it was announced that active SMEs that are registered with SOSCO as of 2020 are eligible and no application is required. Then, it was announced that applications are now required, and business owners are required to upload the required documents within the 2 weeks’ time”
“But today, when people are applying for the said aid, more additional documents such as Form 78 are suddenly added, and they have been told that their businesses must be registered and actively operating for at least 3 years to be eligible. We are not even sure if further changes will be made after this.”
He said instead of making applications more difficult and confusing, Sarawak state government should automate and simplify the said aid if the government is sincere in providing aid to businesses.
On the same note, Wong said the Sarawak government should include micro-enterprises in the state for the said aid, as majority of the business entities in the nation are categorized as micro-enterprises.
“According to SME Corp and DOSM, 78.4% of the total business entities in the nation are categorized as micro-enterprises, where they have less than 5 employees and an annual turnover of not more than RM300,000.”
He pointed out that as the Covid-19 pandemic has devastated the nation’s economy, many businesses have been forced to retrench their employees to survive, with their income also heavily affected.
“Whether they are small or medium enterprises that are forced to restructure as micro-enterprises as a result of the pandemic or micro-enterprises that are managed by small families, the Sarawak government should not marginalize them. Why is the state government making it so hard for these businesses to apply for the aid that is very much needed for them?”
“Sarawak state government needs to simplify and automate the BKSS 7.0 cash aid application, and we want the state government to include micro-enterprises in the state for the cash aid,” he said.