Opposition MPs calls for automatic loan moratorium, wage subsidy to save jobs in Malaysia’s current MCO
The Opposition MPs said the automatic loan moratorium which was similar to the ones introduced during the first MCO last year can remove the anxiety and bureaucracy almost immediately. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Jan 23 — Opposition MPs urged the government to implement an automatic loan moratorium and six-months wage subsidy in a measure to save jobs affected by the current second movement control order (MCO).

The MPs, collectively from PKR, DAP, Amanah, Warisan, New Sarawak Party as well as the still unregistered Malaysia United Democratic Alliance (Muda), said the automatic loan moratorium which was similar to the ones introduced during the first MCO last year, can remove the anxiety and bureaucracy almost immediately.

“SME and individuals which are not affected can continue with their existing loan repayment.

“Six-months automatic loan moratorium will improve cash flow in the economy hence creating economic activities. Individuals and SMEs will have more cash at their disposal, which in turn will help to improve the bottom line for all businesses, encouraging them to keep and maybe increase employment (instead of cutting jobs) as they work through this pandemic,” the MPs said in a joint statement today.

The MPs also call on the government to increase the Social Security Organisation (Socso) wage subsidy of RM600 per worker to a higher amount (for those earning below RM4000) and to extend it for at least six months.

“The current RM600 subsidy for one month only is insufficient as the aftermath of MCO 2.0 and the Emergency are still in the process of unveiling itself for some sectors.

“Six-months wage subsidy will greatly encourage employers not to resort to cutting jobs and help carry them through half of this year as they face reduced sales and cash flow. For some, it may also encourage them to start recruitment again,” said the MPs.

The MPs also said the RM15 billion Permai stimulus package which was announced on Jan 18 is just not adequate to address the problems — such as unemployment and economic crisis that Malaysia is facing right now.

“This is an extraordinary time. The government should take extraordinary measures to save jobs.

“The full consequences of rising unemployment may hurt the nation in ways no future stimulus package can aid.

“The Perikatan Nasional government has already lost out to our Asean neighbours in their competitiveness to attract foreign investors because of sheer incompetence, inefficiency and political instability. Further denial and stubbornness to do more for the business sector is one more nail in the coffin for our bleeding economy,” the MPs said.