Grant Thornton calls for EPF freeze to help businesses to weather MCO

27 Apr 2020 / 15:23 H.

PETALING JAYA: Grant Thornton Malaysia Plt said freezing Employee Provident Fund (EPF) payments from employers and employees for six months could ease the burdens of businesses and will be the make or break moment for the survival of marginal companies.

Its managing partner Datuk NK Jasani (pix) commented that the period of the movement control order (MCO) which has been extended to May 12, has already shown detrimental effects on consumption recovery trends and people are now faced with real job losses and salary cuts.

He pointed out that businesses affected by the MCO will take at least one year to recover.

“Even with help from the government such as subsidies from the Economic Stimulus Packages, deferring of EPF payments, six-month moratorium on loan repayments, it is unfortunately still not enough for businesses to survive. What businesses need is income,” said Jasani in a press release.

He opined that the deferment of the payments will not resolve the cash flow problems, as employers will have to pay double the amount after a short period of postponement.

“We are already seeing the impact of the pandemic such as closures plus retrenchments and downsizing of workforce,” he said.

He also said the government should allow offices, shops and factories to resume operations after May 12, even if there are further extensions to the MCO, provided that all required precautions are taken.

Such precautions include daily temperature checks, using sanitizers, washing hands, wearing face masks, anti-virus fogging and social distancing.

“The business concerns must be strictly held accountable but be allowed to operate under the stipulated conditions. If there is delay in implementing the above, we will have numerous business failures, high unemployment and growing pockets of poverty,” said Jasani.

He also recommended that all restaurants, coffee shops, schools, universities and religious places could still be closed for a longer time to ensure no new spread of the coronavirus.

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