MEF director calls for more govt assistance to avoid layoffs

26 Mar 2020 / 20:39 H.

THE Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) says the government should help employers tide over their current difficulties which were caused by the enforcement of the movement control order (MCO).

Its executive director, Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan, said without government assistance, employers might resort to the easiest way out by laying off workers, which is “not good for the country”.

He told Sin Chew Daily this on Wednesday when asked to comment on the two-week extension of the MCO announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on the same day.

He said of course it was best that employers retain their employees so that when the Covid-19 pandemic is over, they still have the manpower to seize opportunities that come along.

He said the government can help by lowering employers’ EPF contribution rates and suspending the payment of Human Resource Development Fund levy. The government can also suspend payment by employers for their share of contributions to Socso and Employment Insurance Scheme (EIS).

Shamsuddin said these proposals were meant to protect the rice bowl of employees and suggested that both the government and employees share employers’ burden during this challenging time.

He said the MCO extension, which many had expected, will present an added challenge to employers, particularly those running small and medium enterprises and micro-businesses.

“Some 650,000 people are engaged in micro-businesses - set-ups with five or fewer employees. They don’t have reserves or stock up.

“They depend on the takings from day-to-day sales, and receive no income at all during the current MCO period. The irony is the Human Resources Ministry said they must pay employees full salary,” he lamented.

He believed these employers, who were prepared to pay their workers nine days of salary for the first two-week MCO period, would do the same for the two-week extension.

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