吴添泉今天发表文告评论总值400亿令吉的“经济与人民强化配套加强版” （PEMERKASA TAMBAHAN）时表示，华总支持政府这次推出的第7个抗疫财援经济配套，以及首相所强调的提升公共卫生能力、继续关怀人民议程以及支持商业永续的3大鲜明目标 。
Huazong calls for expansion of loan moratorium and wage subsidy scheme to better help the people and businesses
The Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong) has proposed the government to further expand the scope of loan moratorium and wage subsidy scheme, to better reach and assist those individuals and businesses adversely affected by the persisting Covid-19 pandemic.
In his response to the Prime Minister’s announcement of the RM40 billion Pemerkasa Plus economic aid programme, on Monday, which includes RM5 billion direct fiscal injection from the federal government, Huazong President Tan Sri T.C Goh opines that the extension of the wage subsidy program (WSP) for one month was insufficient, just like a “drop in the bucket”. He suggested the government extend the said program to three months, at least, so that it would be more effective in saving the employees’ jobs.
As for the latest round of loan moratorium, he opines that it should not only be confined to the low-income group, those who have lost their jobs, and micro and small and medium enterprises as, the pandemic spares no one, including big corporations and the middle-income group, and they too should be taken care of by the government.
He underscored that, the government must not ignore the plights of the big corporations who usually have higher business overhead and greater financial burden, besides having a wider and greater impact on the national economy, including employment for the people.
Noting that with a majority of employees in both the public and private sectors required to ‘work from home’, while teachers and students too are required to conduct online teaching/learning from home, he implored the government to provide more discount or rebate for household electricity bills.
Goh said Huazong welcomes and supports the government’s move of rolling out the Pemerkasa Plus economic aid programme, which is the 7th of its series of financial aid packages, since the Covid-19 outbreak in December 2019. Huazong also welcomes the three main thrusts of the aid program namely, boosting public health capacity, continuing the ‘Prihatin Rakyat’ agenda, and ensuring business sustainability.
He also recognized that it was timely and appropriate that the government rolled out the said aid programme in view of the worsening pandemic throughout the country, of late, although it had previously rolled out various economic stimulus packages to the tune of RM340 billion since the Covid-19 outbreak.
“We are glad that quite a number of measures contained in the Pemerkasa Plus economic aid programme are in line with some of the views and proposals put forward by Huazong, recently,” he said.
He said Huazong fully supports the government’s allocation of RM1 billion to stabilize and to boost public health capacity. This was in addition to the RM65 billion Covid-19 Fund announced previously for the implementation of the National Covid-19 Immunisation Program (PICK). He thus hoped the government could speed up acquisition of Covid-19 vaccines, so that the country could achieve ‘herd immunity’, soonest.
Meanwhile, Huazong has come out with a 10-point proposal to complement the Pemerkasa Plus economic aid program, as follows:
1. To further expand the loan moratorium for those in the B40 group, those who lost employment, and small-and-medium enterprises that can’t operate during the MCO, which comes into effect on 1 June, to also include the M40 group and big corporations which are not allowed to operate during the two-week total lockdown, allowing them to apply for a three-month loan moratorium or six months of 50 percent reduced loan repayments.
2. To extend the RM1.5 billion wage subsidy program (WSP) to three months at least, so that it would be more effective in helping those who are adversely affected by the pandemic and the total lockdown.
3. Proposing the government to extend the exemption of the Human Resource Development Fund levy payment by the employers, for one month (June), to three months, at least.
4. Proposing the government to further lower the interest rate for microcredit loans from BSN, Tekun, Mara, SME Corp and Yapeim for traders and micro-entrepreneurs, from the existing three percent to 2.5% or much lower, so as to help ease the borrowers’ burden of paying back the loan.
5. Proposing the government to be more flexible and targeted with the implementation of the Bank Negara’s Targeted Relief and Recovery Facility (TRRF) which would offer loans to small-and-medium enterprises at 3.5 percent interest rate. Instead of imposing a 3.5% interest rate across the board, a much lower interest rate should be considered for borrowers of smaller loans.
6. Besides providing a 10 percent discount on electricity bills for hotel operators, tour agencies, shopping complexes, convention centres, theme parks, and local airline offices from July to September, the government should consider extending the same discount to domestic power consumers, for three months at least, or until the end of the year. This is in view of the fact that currently, 80% of civil servants and 40% of private sector employees are required to work from home, while teachers and students are required to conduct online teaching/learning from home. Hence, it is hoped that the government and the power utility company could do the necessary to help ease the people’s financial burden amidst the current tough situation.
7. Urging the government to extend its series of Prihatin Rakyat aids including the Prihatin Special Grant (GKP) to those needy and deserving individuals, at least until the end of this year, and to boost such aid, if and when circumstances arise.
8. Government should also expand its aid programs to assist struggling community-based non-profit organizations, such as Chinese organizations, old folks homes, welfare organizations, community-run places of worship and cemeteries, to help them to get through this difficult period of time.
9. Huazong welcomes the announcement of the prime minister that all Cabinet ministers and deputy ministers will forego their salary for three months starting June, and to be contributed to the Disaster Trust Fund to finance expenses related to Covid-19, besides the announcement that a portion of fixed allowances of over 800,000 civil servants, not including frontline personnel and those in Grades 1 to 28, will be channeled to the same trust fund, for three months, as a manifestation of solidarity in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic.
Huazong also called on politicians and non-politicians who are appointed to helm Federal government agencies, government-link companies (GLCs) or government-linked enterprises (GLEs), to emulate the same.
10. Urging the federal government to step up coordination with state governments and private sector to expedite the National Immunisation Program, and to pay serious attention to promptly resolve issues related to absenteeism and registration for vaccination which contributed to unnecessary wastage of limited government resources. And to continue to formulate and execute SOPs which are effective in containing Covid-19.