KUALA LUMPUR, March 28 — Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s main intention when he unveiled the RM250 billion stimulus care package yesterday was to ensure that Malaysians will not be left jobless as a result of the movement control order (MCO), said a senior minister.
At the Bicara Naratif talk show today, Datuk Seri Azmin Ali said that their focus was to avoid mass retrenchment of the workforce as such a scenario would be far more detrimental to the national economy than the temporary MCO.
In order to achieve this goal, the international trade and industries minister said that Putrajaya must be able to ensure that the private sector’s cashflow remains fluid and that a large segment of the care package is aimed to ensure that these businesses remain sustainable.
“The government has taken the responsibility to implement the Wage Subsidy Programme to help small traders, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs) facing cashflow problems. We (the Cabinet) have agreed on this matter involving RM5.6 billion to benefit 3.3 million workers.
“Our focus is to handle unemployment. The prime minister was proactive in curbing retrenchments. It will cost us a lot more to retrain and re-employ these workers once the economy and global health have recovered if they have been retrenched in the first place.
“So, we (the Cabinet) agreed to the Wage Subsidy Programme to assist employers to retaining their workforce. Right now, companies can’t afford (to pay salary) and we don’t want these companies to sack their staff,” said Azmin.
The programme will see the government helping companies retain their employees with a RM600 subsidised wage for each worker earning less than RM4,000 a month for three months.
It is tailored specifically to employers who have faced a 50 per cent drop in revenue since January of this year and to give a relief to their cashflow problems.
Touching on those who earn their living through the gig-economy, Azmin reiterated Muhyiddin’s statement yesterday that no one will be left behind.
He recalled that the 120,000 odd fulltime e-hailing drivers will be receiving a one-off cash assistance of RM500 while taxi drivers will be receiving RM600.
Meanwhile, those involved in the digital economy have the option of obtaining micro-credit schemes that have received a boost in the allocation of up to RM700 million from RM200 million.