Don’t extend MCO unless you can give monthly cash aid for the poor, govt told

Low-income earners and those who are paid on a daily basis will struggle if the movement control order is extended, says Fomca.

PETALING JAYA: A consumer body today urged the government not to extend the movement control order (MCO) beyond April 14 unless it can provide monthly cash aid for low-income earners.

Federation of Malaysian Consumers Associations president Marimuthu Nadason said low-income earners and daily paid workers, including migrant workers, would be the worst hit if the MCO were to be extended.

While the government is giving one-off cash aid of RM1,600 to those earning below RM4,000, and RM500 for singles earning from RM2,000 to RM4,000 a month, he said this would not be enough to last through the MCO period which began on March 18.

He cited the example of Singapore, which is giving a support grant of $800 (RM2,438) for three consecutive months for full-time and contract workers, saying this would be a good model to follow.

He also cited the UK’s “80% guaranteed pay” worth £29 (RM156) daily for those who have zero to limited working hours during the Covid-19 crisis. This comes roughly to RM3,000 a month.

“While there has been some distribution of food by some NGOs and politicians (to the poor), millions of families simply do not have enough money to face their daily basic expenditure for themselves and their children.

“Those calling for the extension and the policymakers have simply neglected the plight of the poor and the suffering. They call for an extension with no similar demand for those suffering to be helped meaningfully.

“We strongly oppose the extension of the MCO. But of course, if the science requires it then there must be increased help and support for the poor and the suffering.”