Safety glass processors association appeal for government help

  • SME
  • Tuesday, 07 Apr 2020

THE Safety Glass Processors Association of Malaysia (SGPAM) fully acknowledges the Government’s timely and proactive response by the unveiling of the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package and it is reassuring to note that the people’s interests are being taking into account and addressed.

During these challenging times all sectors of society are badly hit by the unprecedented turn of events as all of us are all faced with a sobering reality of uncertainty, unpreparedness and apprehension that perhaps the worst is yet to come, said a statement by the SGPAM board.

“While we at SGPAM fully acknowledges our Government’s unenviable and monumental task of allocating the Prihatin package as equitable as possible, it is hoped that more consideration be given to SMEs in light of the hardship and plight of all our members who are caught unprepared by the global lockdown and subsequent MCO that has resulted in zero revenue suffered by non-essential sectors during this worrisome downtime.

“Our members are largely SMEs and together with all the SMEs we form the backbone of our country’s economy, providing continuous employment and job opportunities to the rakyat.

“With the prolonged MCO and if the crisis does not abate, it is possible that many SMEs may be forced to close down if no substantial financial assistance is allocated.

“To this end we implore the Government to provide much-needed financial relief to our members during this critical period as our members grapple with the daunting months ahead, ” the board said.

Among the hardships currently faced by SGPAM members, according to the board, are:

> During the MCO period their factories are at a standstill and cash flow in the ensuing months will be a severe problem.

“We would therefore need some allocation of support from the stimulus package to help tide this over.

“We also need the Government to allow partial operation at our factories on a three-day week basis (eight-hour shift) to enable our daily paid workers to earn some income during MCO and for this we will strictly practise protective measures such as working at a safe distance, implemention of sanitising procedures, wearing face masks, thermal scanning, etc.”

> SGPAM needs feasible measures from the Government to safeguard job retention, business viability and continuity, for example some guidelines to enable its employees to take unpaid annual leave, etc.

“During the MCO period, we seek government assistance to enable wages be paid on a bipartisan basis – 50% by employer and 50% by the Government – and thereafter to allow our members to practise flexibility in dealing with this issue to retain their employees on a mutually agreeable basis.”

> Request that Bank Negara does not retract any existing facilities and to provide temporary unsecured overdraft facilities at minimal percentage to cope with unavoidable liabilities and fixed costs such as wages and salaries, running costs, etc.

This includes lowering the criteria for soft loan applications; non-bank providers to grant automatic moratorium for six months effective April 2020 on repayment of all business loans; and financing facilities.

> The Government to expedite local infrastructure and development projects to spur and maintain the momentum of our beleaguered economy.

Also, the Government to strictly enforce the Buatan Malaysia policy to help our local players and only to allow imported items that are not available in Malaysia.

> The Government to defer all increases relating to cost of doing business – such as minimum wages, statutory contribution rates, port tariffs, quit rent, etc – during this critical period.

> Energy costs. “We need government support in terms of power consumption, such as a 25% discount for all E1 and E2 tariff, and exempt maximum demand charges until end of 2020.”

> Suspend minimum wages ruling for 2020 and 2021.

> Safety glass processors to curtail existing payment terms – to reduce the number of days of credit including implementing cash terms to facilitate cash flow and liquidity.

> An immediate freeze on issuance of manufacturing licences for safety glass processors for the next five years to safeguard our local players.

> The Government to waive FY2020 income tax for all SMEs.

> Personal income tax to be fixed at 10% on the maximum scale including suspension of monthly tax deduction for six months effective April 2020.

> A collective request by all SGPAM members to reduce Sales and Services Tax (SST) to 3% for the entire range of safety glass from April till end of 2020. To reconsider reintroducing Goods and Services Tax (GST) by 2021.

The board added: “This will be a win-win situation if our SGPAM members can keep our heads above water during these very trying times as we continually strive to unequivocally support our Government and local economy by persevering to remain sustainable to ensure and provide employment for our rakyat.”

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