LOCAL business owners want the Sarawak government to come up with incentives when instructing businesses closed to curb the Covid-19 pandemic.
Kenny Sia, founder of home-grown fitness chain Level Up Fitness, hoped the state government would provide wage subsidy, rental discounts incentives and interest free loan moratorium, among others, to help them stay afloat.
“I don’t think it’s asking much as this was provided by the federal government during Movement Control Order (MCO) 1.0. We are basically asking the state government to be responsible when they make businesses close,” Borneo Post reports him saying.
Sia’s business has been adhering to the SOPs strictly, which was effective to prevent the spread of Covid-19 in their premises since the start of the pandemic.
He appealed for the state government to engage with industry players to come to a middle ground.
“So, we hope the government can engage with the industry players and come to a middle ground. We are reasonable business owners who can accept a compromise.”
“We have written at least four letters to Sarawak Local Government and Housing Ministry since April 21 and all I got was a: ‘We’ll call you later,” he said.
Johnny Bong, who operates reflexology centres at Premier 101 food centre and Saradise business centre, also hoped the state government can introduce more financial aid or subsidies in the next Sarawakku Sayang Special Assistance (BKSS) package.
“We have to bear heavy costs every time we want to reopen our business, such as Covid-19 swab test for all employees, and there is no discount or mercy on rental payments from the landlord,” he said.
“There isn’t any financial support from any bank or government grant, except for the relief under wage subsidy programme 1.0 while we still have to deal with payments for council license and staff working permit,” he said.
Kapitan Stanley Hu, director of Lok Thian Restaurant pointed out that the three main cost factors for restaurant operators were worker salaries, utilities bills and rental payment.
“As dine-in service is not allowed right now, we hope the government could subsidise our workers’ salaries by introducing the state version of the wage subsidy programme. We have already made our requests to the state government,” said Hu.
He revealed that his restaurant business had dropped over 80% with the latest directive in banning dine-in service.
“If dine-in service is allowed, our business level would be at about 50% compared with the pre-pandemic period,” said Hu, explaining they had been engaging with the government concerning the predicament facing the restaurant industry.