CARING ECONOMIC STIMULUS PACKAGE
“Less Than Expected, More Is Needed”
Wisma MAH, Ampang (27 March 2020) – At RM250 billion, the “Prihatin” or Caring
Economic Stimulus Package does indeed sound impressive, but industries directly impacted
by the outbreak of Covid-19 may need a little bit more. The extensive list of initiatives
announced was very much focused on the people right at the end of the chain, with a series of
cash handouts to ensure the wellbeing and livelihood of the people.
For the industries, particularly hospitality and tourism, the multi-level discount increases for
electricity depending on consumption is much welcomed but the Federal Government is
reminded again to ensure the same is being extended to Sabah and Sarawak, where energy is
managed separately, not by Tenaga Nasional Berhad (TNB).
The announced payroll subsidy of RM600 per month for three months, for employees earning
below RM4,000 a month, is needed but is below what the industry expected. The hotel industry
in particular, had earlier proposed a minimum of RM1,000 per employee, or a minimum
equivalent of 50% of employee’s monthly pay for a period of six months. This is in response
to a much lower occupancy rate projected for the coming months looking the situation
“We are looking at an average occupancy for Malaysia of nothing more than 25% in June, and
that is if the Movement Control Order (MCO) ends on 14 April with the spread of Covid-19
under control,” explained Kamaruddin Baharin, President of the Malaysian Association of
Hotels (MAH). Recovery is not expected till the third quarter with the industry putting hopes
in the year end holidays to ease up on accumulated losses for the year.
According to MAH, as of now 2,041 employees of the industry had been laid off due to
economic pressures and the extended MCO, while 9,773 are given unpaid leaves and another
5,054 taken pay cuts. This number is based on sampling size of 56,299 and is set to grow over
the next few months.