Press release 31 March 2020
Kota Kinabalu (Tues): There is an urgent need for the government both Federal and State to set up a special committee to look into the interests of the business sectors that are equally hit by the negative impact of the covid19 pandemic. This concern was voiced out by IDS Executive Director, Anthony Kiob in relation to feedbacks from the local business community as well as the recent press statement issued by a local business NGO.
Anthony feels that the stimulus package recently revealed by our Prime Minister need to give further emphasis on the business sectors to sustain and survive during this difficult time.
“The prolonging of the stay home order even though necessary is affecting the economy badly. This is especially to the business community that depends on everyday dealings and activities to make their businesses work,” he said.
“Our economy can cripple if the government does not take immediate action to address the concern of the business community. They are the backbone of our economy without whom our economy can’t perform and develop effectively,” Anthony said
In order to help the business sectors, Anthony suggested that the government give a free hand to employers to negotiate wage, including EPF and all other related perks to be paid during the movement restriction period with their employees without forcing them to pay full salary. “As production and business activities come to a halt, company can’t make money and therefore where would they find the money to pay salary?” said Anthony further.
“If we were to follow the United Kingdom stimulus package, their government is willing to come up with 80% of the employee’s salary. If this is applied in our country, there would be no issue as employer should bare another 20% of the salary and therefore, employees can get full salary payment during this period,” he said further.
Anthony stated that in Sabah particularly, bulk of the business’s activities are undertaken by SMEs. He said if the SMEs collapse, Sabah’s economy will follow suit. Therefore, Anthony said it is in everybody’s interest that SMEs should be safeguarded.
Anthony also voiced out his concern regarding businesses in Sabah that were owned by foreign investors. “I strongly felt that, we need to also provide some kind of assistance to them so that they will be able to continue their presence and contribution to our economy,” he said.