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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Harapan: Wage subsidy needs to double if it is to prevent retrenchments

Malaysiakini

CORONAVIRUS | Pakatan Harapan said the RM600 wage subsidy Putrajaya is offering to businesses to cope with the economic downturn brought about by the Covid-19 crisis needs to be doubled if the measure is to be effective in preventing retrenchments.
"The government will spend RM5.9 billion under the wage subsidy programme where RM600 will be paid for three months for 3.3 million workers.
"The Harapan secretariat is of the view that it is not enough and propose that it should be increased to RM1,200. This is in line with the country's minimum wage level.
"This will not only help workers but also relief the wage pressure for small and medium enterprises and avoid retrenchments.
"The larger sum is in line with measures in several other countries including Singapore, United Kingdom and Australia," it said in a joint statement.
The statement was issued by PKR's Shamsul Iskandar Mohd Akin, Amanah's Khalid Samad and DAP's Ong Kian Ming.
They said the government's stimulus package, particularly welfare aid for the next two months, will address basic needs if implemented properly.
However, they said the measures fall short when it comes to small and medium-sized enterprises, which hires 70 percent of the workforce and contribute substantially to corporate taxes.
They said the economy, battered by Covid-19, requires careful planning and bi-partisan support in the next six months.
They reiterated for the government to call for an emergency Parliament sitting to address the issue.
Earlier today, the World Bank forecasted that Malaysia may fall into a recession this year.
To combat coronavirus, the country has gone into a partial lockdown since March 18.
The Movement Control Order (MCO) was supposed to end today but was extended until April 14.
Under the MCO, all non-essential businesses and services must close while people are only allowed to leave their homes for pressing reasons such as to restock food supply.
The measures have brought a large section of the country's economy to a standstill.
As of noon yesterday, Malaysia recorded 2,626 Covid-19 cases with 37 deaths.
Globally, there are 786,907 cases to date with 37,480 deaths. - Mkini

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