Kinta factory operators unsuccessful in getting aid

Hon Fah (third from right) distributing food packs to the needy at GP Foodcourt. — RONNIE CHIN/The Star

FACTORY operators are hoping for easier ways to get existing government financial assistance schemes.

Persatuan Pemilik Perindustrian Kinta Perak president Wong Hon Fah claimed that many of its members tried applying for the schemes, including the Wage Subsidy Programme, but to no avail.

“The government has stated that it has various assistance funds and schemes but many of my association members are unable to get those,” he claimed when met during a food aid distribution programme at a food court in First Garden, Ipoh in Perak.

“We hope to get more funding to prevent further losses to our operations.

“If we are unable to get help, we expect more workers to be retrenched in the next few months,” he said, adding that his association had about 100 members.

Hon Fah said the association tried to set up a Public-Private Partnership Covid-19 Industry Immunisation Programme (Pikas) centre so its members’ employees could get vaccinated, but this had not been successful either.

“We tried to do so through the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers some time ago. There has been no response so far,” he said.

They are contemplating getting their employees vaccinated through the private clinics in August but “the vaccines are quite expensive, between RM300 and RM400 for two doses”.

“It will be costly for companies that are paying for all their employees, especially those with a large workforce,” Hon Fah noted.

He said about 30% of his association members were essential item manufacturers but 20% chose not to operate as they were unsure of the ever-changing standard operating procedures.

“Many are afraid of getting fined. It is a hard time for all of us and there is nothing much we can do but hope to get vaccinated as soon as possible,” he added.

On the food aid distribution programme, Hon Fah said they were collaborating with a group to help the needy.

He said they gathered food items such as instant noodles, condensed milk, eggs, canned food and rice for 300 recipients from Jelapang, Buntong, Silibin and First Garden.

Wong Him Kit, the spokesperson for the group carrying out this food charity work, said they sent out volunteers about three weeks ago to find people who needed help and gave them coupons to redeem the foodstuff.

“We gather funds from relatives and friends to buy the items.

“Many people are impacted by the pandemic. We want to do our part to lessen their burden,” said Him Kit.

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