Current measures only benefit one sector while others continue to be impacted

PETALING JAYA: As more industries are sounding the alarm over the drop in business due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the government has been urged to come up with a new package to aid all sectors and help save jobs.

Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Berhad (MIDF) yesterday offered financial relief to its existing clients through deferment of monthly repayments, rescheduling and restructuring of financing, as well as extending due dates on revolving facilities.

“By introducing such measures, it is our hope to provide partial relief and financial support to companies, especially SMEs in manufacturing, hotels, retail, transport and services, in addition to helping the economy rebound,” said head of MIDF’s Development Finance Division, Azizi Haji Mustafa.

In response, Malaysia Employers Federation executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan (pix) said about 88% of the recently announced package assisted only one sector while others did not receive much help.

He said local companies importing raw material from China or exporting products to China were most affected.

“Business is nearly at a standstill in China and Malaysian companies are finding it hard to persevere. The government must find some way to help them,” he told theSun.

He said salaries cannot simply be cut as it can lead to all kinds of legal implications.

“Employers need to get the permission of employees before they take such action, but it will have a knock-on effect. People will have less to spend and this will impact the economy.”

He suggested redundancies but said it will also cost.

“Once demand picks up ... they will have to re-employ and train new people,” Shamsuddin said.

“Perhaps reduce the number of working days until the economy recovers.”

Malaysian Trades Union Congress (MTUC) secretary-general J. Solomon said cutting employee wages is illegal and would send the wrong message.

He said companies should have reserve funds, or they can put aside money from their profits for such eventualities, or explain to their workers why they do not have contingency plans.

“Companies facing problems can always inform MEF and they can raise the issue with the National Labour Advisory Council for discussions.

“As a tripartite council, MEF, MTUC and the government will be able to discuss the issues and find a solution,” he said.