Ensure stimulus funds reach target groups, urges Sabah opposition man

Former Sabah chief minister Yong Teck Lee says the various business bodies and associations should help their members fill in the application forms.

KOTA KINABALU: A Sabah opposition leader said the federal government’s RM20 billion economic stimulus package will be of no use if it does not reach the target groups in a timely manner.

Sabah Progressive Party (SAPP) president Yong Teck Lee said the business community would not reap the benefits of this package if they were to be impeded by what he described as “bureaucratic hurdles”.

“Speaking from experience, I know that many small and medium business people have difficulties overcoming the bureaucratic hurdles in order to access the many types of grants and assistance provided by the government,” he said.

As such, he urged the hotel and tourism associations, chambers of commerce, manufacturers’ federation,and automobile, taxi and other relevant associations to organise meetings with the various government departments as soon as possible.

“This is to help their members fill in the application forms and advise them on how to apply for the generous assistance provided by the federal government,” he said in a statement here today.

Interim Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced a RM20 billion economic stimulus package to cushion the impact of Covid-19.

Mahathir said it would be implemented for six months from March. Among the incentives are a 15% discount on the electricity bills for airline companies, shopping malls and exhibition malls.

To stimulate the tourism industry, taxes on hotels will be reduced and the levy imposed for training will be removed temporarily.

The employees’ contribution to the Employees Provident Fund will also be reduced from 11% to 7%, allowing employees to have more money in hand.

Hotels, tourism players, shopping malls and convention centres should check their monthly bills with the Sabah Electricity Sdn Bhd (SESB) to look out for the 15% discount on electricity.

“As for the exemption from 6% service tax for hotels from March to August this year, the Customs Department should inform the tax payers in writing.

“Similarly, the Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF) should inform subscribers about the exemption from paying the HRDF,” he said.