By John Isaac
THE BKSS 6.0 announced by Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg two days ago does not address the immediate and pressing predicaments faced by the people and businesses as a result of the current MCO.3.0.
Once again, the SMEs and business sectors are left high and dry to fend for themselves without any help from the State Government.
According to Sarawak DAP chief, Chong Chieng Jen, there is no wage subsidy for the SMEs to keep their work force despite the economic slowdown and the losses they suffer as a result of the pandemic and the MCO 3.0.
“The refusal on the part of the State Government to give wage subsidies to the SMEs and businesses will result in deduction of wage and allowances or even retrenchment of employees.
“To many employees, their losses will be more than the BKSS B40 cash hand-outs given by the State Government under BKSS 6.0,” he said.
Secondly, why wait till end of July and some even December to give out the money to the B40s and the hawkers when they need the money now as a result of the MCO 3.0?
Under Abang Johari’s announcement for BKSS 6.0:
1. B40 families will be given monthly RM250 cash starting July 31 till December 31, 2021;
2. B40 bachelors will be given one-off RM500 starting August 31; and
3. A total 65,000 hawkers will be given RM1,500 in two instalments of RM750 each in July and December.
The MCO 3.0 started in Sarawak on May 29 and the B40s and hawkers felt the impact of reduced income immediately, but still have to continue paying their car loans and housing loans.
“Yet, the government needs to wait for two months before rolling out the cash assistance to them.
“The Government has all the data and the SarawakPay facility that enables them to roll out the assistance immediately. Why drag for two months and some even six months?
“The people need financial aid now, but the Government will only give out such aid in two months’ time. It defies all logic and common sense. Is it genuine aid for the people or a GPS state election “cash for vote” tactic?,” questioned Chong.
Thirdly, for the sector hardest hit by the pandemic, the assistance given under BKSS 6.0 is too little.
For the tourism sector, the State Government is allocating RM1.63 million as one-off financial assistance of:
1. RM3,000 to 216 licenced tourism agencies;
2. RM600 to 568 homestay operators;
3. RM1,500 to 392 licenced tour guides; and
4. RM500 to 99 licenced tourist vehicle drivers.
This group has been most affected since the beginning of the pandemic. Yet, after suffering for a whole year, only a total RM1.63 million (less than 0.2% of the announced total assistance) was allocated for them.