By S. Harrish
WITH the current restrictions imposed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, many over-the-counter government services are affected and the ordinary folks are bearing the brunt of it.
Sarawak DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen said that for the past several months, the Inland Revenue Board’s (LHDN) licencing department and the Road Transport Department (JPJ) have been using the appointment system for its services.
He said the LHDN limits only 100 trade licence new licence applications or renewals per day.
But with trade licences having to be renewed yearly, it works out to a maximum of 25,000 trade licences renewal or new licence applications per year for the whole of Kuching.
“This is grossly insufficient and as a result, businesses could hardly get their trade licences renewed and many could not pay their road taxes.
“Many of those who could get things done, got them done with extra costs.
“It seems that people must now pay extra money to get their appointment dates, otherwise they will have to wait forever,” he said in a statement today.
At the State government level, Chong said the Land and Survey Department and the Immigration Department have also adopted similar practices.
“As a result, land transactions were delayed for weeks and months (most of these transactions have very strict time schedules) and foreign workers’ permits applications and extensions have been delayed.”
He said these issues have severe economic costs to businesses and that was also the reason why Sarawak had one of the worst GDP negative growth.
Chong said since there was a 50% workforce restriction, all government departments should not continue with its 8am to 5pm work hour schedule.
DAP Sarawak suggested that over-the-counter service hours be revised from 8am to 8pm.
They can then divide their staff into 2 shifts of 6 working hours a day.
“In order to maximise the service hour for the public and clear all the backlog, the offices should not be closed for lunch or dinner and the staff can take turns for their breaks.”
He said lengthening the time for the over-the-counter service is the only way to provide such services to the people and help to uplift the state’s economy.
“Otherwise, with all these business-relevant services working at less than 50% capacity, we will be very slow in our economic recovery,” he added.