Aid welcomed but ‘barely enough’ to ease burdens

BUSINESSES welcome the targeted aid announced under the fourth Prihatin Special Grant (GKP 4.0), with many looking forward to the National Recovery Plan entering Phase Two in Penang.

A hair salon founder and owner who wanted to be known only as Shuhada, 44, said they hoped to be able to ride out this tough period with the RM500 aid disbursed under GKP 4.0.

“The aid may not be much but we are grateful for some aid. Under such circumstances, we have no choice but to look for ways to sustain ourselves.

“For me, I have brought my business online and try to sustain a little by selling my hair products through my online platforms on top of the aid received.

“Under GKP 3.0, we received a previous RM1,000 aid and although it was not enough for us to pay our rental and expenses, we were still grateful to receive some aid.

“This time, we actually hoped for other strategies but since there is another monetary aid of RM500, we welcome it as well. Although

it is not much, it is better than nothing. We can only hope for the lockdown to end soon so that we can continue our business,” she said.

Under GKP 4.0, an additional RM500 aid will be paid out to eligible recipients in the months of September and November this year.

The aid is expected to help some one million individuals operating bakeries, health and lifestyle stores, car workshop owners, salons and other small and micro business owners.

Meanwhile, on the 5% to 40% discount for electricity bills each month up to a maximum usage of 900 kilowatt-hour and a further extension of discount for impacted economic sectors, hoteliers say this would barely help cover their costs.

It was announced that for economic sectors like hotel operators, theme parks, convention centres and tourism, an extension of a 10% discount on electricity bills from October to December would be given.

Hotel communications director Christina Tan said while they were looking forward to discounts in electricity bills, hotels would need discounts of 50% or more to lift their burdens.

“Hotels nationwide have been facing the same situation for months now. No dine-ins allowed, no interstate travels and no subsidies or lift in bills or licences.

“We were hoping that the government could look into these things.

“But as we are in a lockdown, I guess these are not applicable.

“Since we are receiving a discount on electricity bills and an extension of the discount up to the end of the year, we welcome them.”

Tan said collectively, hotels had made several requests and proposals to the government through the Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH).

“We hope in the next announcement, we could see more of the concerns addressed,” she said.

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