JOHOR BARU: The public and business groups are happy with the government’s decision to introduce more initiatives to help them cope following the Covid-19 pandemic affecting their lives.
Johor Baru Business and Hawker Association president Roland Lim said the additional RM10.6bil economic stimulus package, Kita Prihatin, announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin was timely.
“It is a good initiative that will definitely benefit the public, especially small business owners who are still struggling to overcome the economic impact of the pandemic.
“The Wage Subsidy Scheme, in particular, is a much needed assistance for businesses as they are unable to continue paying workers’ full wages and are looking for ways to reduce operating costs, ” he said.
Lim added that the number of shops closing down in Johor Baru was increasing day by day, as owners could not sustain their business without having customers from Singapore and Indonesia.
“Some business operators cannot operate despite having no rental to pay for their shops.
“There are also some who have decided to give up their business and take up jobs, ” he said, hoping the package would see them through the difficult time.
Johor Indian Muslim Entrepreneurs Association (Perusim) secretary Hussein Ibrahim said the wage subsidy programme would bring great relief to restaurant owners who have been losing customers.
“However, I hope the government will consider allowing foreign workers to also benefit from the wage subsidy this time.
“This is because a majority of workers employed by Perusim members are foreigners, ” said Hussein.
Taxi driver Abdul Razak Abd Rahman, 57, said the Prihatin Special Grant (PSG) would benefit many taxi drivers who earned very little income due to fewer customers during the pandemic.
“We were not aware that taxi drivers could apply for the grant the first time it was introduced. We thought it was only for shop owners.
“Some tried their luck and applied for the grant previously and their applications were approved.
“That is how we found out we are eligible for it as we are registered under the Companies Commission of Malaysia, ” he said.
Razak said by the time they found out about this, it was too late to apply.
“Hence, the re-introduction of the grant is good news to us, ” he said.
Engineer P. Prakash, 25, suggested for the government to give subsidies for essential household items instead of providing cash handouts.
“There is no denying it is a good effort by the government for the people, but subsidies for essential items will help the public in the long run.
“I feel giving cash aid is a temporary solution that may not bring any long-term benefits, ” said Prakash.
On Wednesday, Muhyiddin announced the RM10bil Kita Prihatin package that included cash aid Bantuan Prihatin Nasional 2.0, Wage Subsidy Programme 2.0 and Prihatin Special Grant.
The aid is expected to reach some 10.6 million people and micro businesses.
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