KOTA KINABALU: Business groups in Sabah have applauded the wage subsidy scheme offered under the Pemulih package announced by the Prime Minister.
Malaysian Association of Hotels (MAH) for Sabah and Labuan chairman Hafizan Wong said the programme was helpful as it now allows employers to apply for subsidies even on those earning over RM4,000 a month.
“For hotels still in operation, it is extremely difficult to cover costs. We need a comprehensive wage subsidy programme to avoid further retrenchments,” he said.
The wage subsidy programme in 2020 covered up to a maximum salary of RM4,000 but the latest aid from the government covers all staffing levels, he added.
However, Wong said that the electricity tariff discount of 10% for economic sectors such as hotels, theme parks, convention centres, shopping malls and tourism companies was not enough.
“We hope Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd and Water Department can consider giving 50% off our bills for a year.
“Many businesses have closed down and likewise, the hotel industry would not be able to stay afloat without assistance,” he added.
Wong also called on the government to consider speeding up vaccination for hotel workers.
SME Association of Sabah president Foo Ngee Kee welcomed the assistance programmes announced by Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin yesterday, calling them comprehensive.
“From many of the items announced the assistance can really help those unemployed and those who have had pay cuts,” he said.
However, he added that he hopes the disbursement of funds will be faster this time compared to previously.
Foo said other things like the extension of bank moratoriums, Malaysia’s Special Prihatin Grant 4.0, and exemption of payments for the Human Resource Development Corporation levy for two months to employers who are not able to operate during the lockdown, also provide relief to employers.
He added that those who did not manage to register for Malaysia’s Special Prihatin Grant 3.0 can do so this round.