Putrajaya urged to cover all sectors in wage subsidy extension

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PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) has called for an expansion of the wage subsidy programme (WSP) to cover all economic sectors.

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Commenting on the 2021 budget provision for a WSP extension focusing on the tourism and retail industries, MEF executive director Shamsuddin Bardan said:

“My main worry will be for the other sectors. If things don’t improve by March next year, when the conditions for them not to retrench are no longer there, things might get worse in terms of ability to retain employees.”

He told FMT the partial lockdown recently imposed on several states in the country had blocked the road to recovery for many businesses.

Selangor, Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya have been placed under the conditional movement control order (CMCO) for more than a month now. The order was recently extended to Dec 6 and to other states.

Shamuddin said things were looking up in early October, just before the CMCO was announced, with most economic and social sectors returning to full swing during the recovery MCO.

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“The reality is that most economic sectors are in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor,” he said. “The current extension of the CMCO will make it a bit more difficult to survive.

”Maybe the government should take another look at the situation and see if there’s a need to reintroduce WSP to all sectors based on the situation after December 2020.”

Shamsuddin also said the Bantuan Prihatin Nasional (BPN) handouts helped boost consumption when people were becoming more careful with their spending.

Although many people still felt the need to prepare for worse days ahead, it did cause some movement for business, he added.

“If there’s an increase in demand for a certain product or service, then the sector can actually employ more people,” he said.

“During the MCO, most eating places were closed for dining in, leading to a high demand for delivery services. So the different platforms definitely require more riders.

“Although it’s not formal employment, there are still economic activities which will generate some income for those involved.” – FMT

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