By S. Harrish
THE Sarawak government has been urged to provide substantial immediate help to traders and hawkers in the state as they are facing the brunt of the economic disruptions due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Former Stampin MP Julian Tan also suggested that the state waive all market and stalls monthly rentals and return rentals that were collected since the start of MCO in March last year.
He said although the recently announced BKSS 5.0 aid provides traders throughout Sarawak with a 50% discount on the rentals until June this year and fee exemptions for business permits and licenses, it may not be enough.
“The economic devastation due to the ‘prolonged’ pandemic has lasted almost a year and doesn’t seem to be ending soon,” said Tan, who is also special assistant to Sarawak DAP chief Chong Chieng Jen.
In a statement released today after a visit to Stutong market in Kuching, to better understand the situation on the ground, he said small-time traders and hawkers were economically vulnerable and do not have many alternatives to generate income, especially during the pandemic time.
“It is not about how much they can earn but how to minimise losses with all the mounting overhead costs due to the pandemic.
“As businesses become very unpredictable, they will also need to bear the risk of losses due to unsold perishable goods,” Tan added.
Also present for the market visit were Bandar Kuching MP Dr Kelvin Yii and Anthony Chin from Kuching Dapsy.
They also distributed some ‘Angpow” packets in conjunction with the coming Chinese New Year celebrations.