MP SPEAKS | Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin has unveiled two stimulus packages, one called “Prihatin” (which was released on March 27) and the other, “Prihatin Plus” (on April 6) as part of his government’s response to the economic crisis resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic.
While the two packages are steps in the right direction compared to the government’s earlier responses, both still fall short of the major paradigm shift that our country desperately needs to overcome this unprecedented crisis as I wrote on March 25.
We must learn the lessons from the economic crises of the past, where shareholders get bailed out via the rakyat’s money with little done for workers.
We indeed need to ensure that companies don’t go out of business unnecessarily. But it is also equally necessary to support jobs to ensure our economy can rebound from the crisis. In other words, solutions should be geared for all Malaysians, both workers and bosses.
Wage subsidies should be tweaked
The increase in wage subsidies of up to RM1,200 is welcome but still pales in comparison to other countries. The UK is covering 80 percent (to a maximum of £2,500 or RM13,400) of worker salaries while Singapore’s varies between 25 percent to 75 percent according to the sector (on the first S$4,600 gross monthly wage).
Also, Malaysia’s wage subsidy program should cover all small and medium enterprises (SMEs) equally, regardless of size. The period covered should be at least six months, not three…