By Chew Lip Song
THE Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) Sarawak wants tax-evading companies exempted from enjoying the Prihatin economic stimulus package for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) announced yesterday.
MTUC Sarawak secretary Andrew Lo said many small businesses had never registered with the tax office, Dayak Daily reported.
“Businesses with five or fewer employees make up around 650,000 nationwide and they will be worried about submitting themselves to the tax authorities. They’re concerned it will come back to haunt them in the future.
“While I’m not suggesting they run away forever maybe the government could use the SME Bank or the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) so these people will step up and get the aide they need,” he said.
He added that the government must ensure only those deserving companies get the assistance and that they abide by the conditions.
Lo was commenting on the prime minister’s announcement yesterday on the additional RM10 billion stimulus package for SMEs on top of the RM250 billion already announced earlier.
This included increasing wage subsidies now to a total of RM13.8 billion, which will benefit 4.8 million workers across the country.
The additional package worth RM10 billion can help lessen the financial burden of the SME, and subsequently guarantee that two-thirds of the total workers in this country will continue being employed.
The additional wage subsidy comes on top of the RM5.9 billion announced under the first Prihatin stimulus packge unveiled at the end of last month.
With the addition, the RM600 subsidy will be extended to all SMEs that employ up to 200 workers, double the previous package.
Those employing between 76 and 200 people will receive RM800 per worker. Meanwhile, firms that employ no more than 75 people will be subsidised with RM1,200 per worker.
All companies registered with SSM and Social Security Organisation (Socso) before January 2020 will be eligible for assistance but with the condition that no workers be laid off for the next six months.