Manufacturers ask Putrajaya to double wage subsidy aid to RM12b

FMM president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai said the RM5.9 billion allocation to subsidise private sector wages is inadequate. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon
FMM president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai said the RM5.9 billion allocation to subsidise private sector wages is inadequate. — Picture by Shafwan Zaidon

KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 — The government’s RM5.9 billion allocation to subsidise private sector wages is inadequate, the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers said.

FMM president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai urged the government to double the sum, saying the current allocation was only enough for 3.3 million workers.

“In view of the prolonged MCO, many businesses are already grounded to a halt and employers are not allowed to cut wages or request employees to utilise annual leave during this period.

“Except for the essential product manufactures that have been allowed to resume operations, but with a 50 per cent reduction in employees, the majority would have to continue paying wages with no work performed during the movement control order (MCO) period,” he said in a statement.

Soh also said that the RM600 wage subsidy should be extended to all workers regardless of their salary levels.

He also said it should be given out without needing companies to show their revenues have fallen by at least half due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) and the ensuing movement control order.

“In fact, FMM had proposed for a 30 per cent wage subsidy by the government on a tripartite shared basis with employers and employees,” he said.

He further said employers should be completely exempted from making their statutory contributions for their workers’ Employees Provident Fund (EPF) savings for the rest of the year instead of being allowed to defer or restructure these payments.

Soh hoped banks would fully assist affected companies by offering reasonable interest rates for business loans, noting that the government was already guaranteeing the funds through Danajamin.

He went on to suggest that banks reduce or waive interest on loan repayments that Bank Negara Malaysia automatically deferred for six months starting April.

On the RM5 billion special relief facility SMEs, Soh wanted the interest rate to be cut to 2 per cent and conditions eased.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced what was billed as a RM250 billion stimulus package on Friday to help Malaysians and businesses cope with Covid-19 and the MCO.

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