Emulate Singapore or UK to subsidise salaries of workers, Putrajaya urged

The Malaysia Retailers Association says businesses will need six months or more to recover from the impact of the movement control order.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysia Retailers Association (MRA) has urged Putrajaya to emulate countries like Singapore and the United Kingdom in subsidising the salaries of all employees to help businesses during the Covid-19 crisis.

The MRA appealed for the government to widen the scope of the RM5.9 billion wage subsidy programme, announced in the second stimulus package, to aid the cash flow of retail businesses.

“MRA would like to request that the subsidy be opened to all employees earning below RM4,000 who are registered and contributing to the Employment Insurance Scheme (EIS), starting March 1, instead of April 1.

“Once again, we appeal to the government to show that you are behind us — the businesses,” its president and council members said in a joint statement today.

It said the subsidy programme had too many terms and conditions, citing one which limits the subsidy to 100 employees per company.

It added that this would prevent the programme from benefiting the government’s targeted number of 3.3 million employees.

The MRA said businesses will need six months or more to recover from the impact of the movement control order (MCO), warning that some might close down, which would lead to job losses for their workers.

It called on the government to be “unprecedentedly generous” with its support measures, stressing that retail businesses wanted to help save jobs, too.