Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Are We Headed For An Escalation In Job Losses, Pay-cuts, Etc Given The Current MCO? -

 Are We Headed For An Escalation In Job Losses, Pay-cuts, Etc Given The Current MCO? - MTUC Penang Division

Just a few days into the current MCO we have been receiving complaints, of workers being asked to consent to pay-cuts, unpaid leave etc. We are not surprised as we were inundated with such depressing complaints during the initial MCO commencing 18.3.2020.

 Though the government has an inherent responsibility to  ensure that the margainlised segment of society are provided with substantial economic assistant, such abject failure is but a blantant dereliction of its duty. Just look at the RM15 billion Permai package announced by the Prime Minister today. 

Firstly, it lacks depth in providing significant relief to the B40 and M40 citizens. Secondly,  the economic deprivation, of those in the informal sector who constitute the largest segment of society, has not been addressed.  And the fact remains that they stand deprived of relieves on account of not being captured by the data base on which financial aid is distributed such as the Income Tax, EPF, SOCSO etc. 

It is appreciated that the government has extended the wage subsidy scheme to all sectors though how much of a relief it would provide to employers is subjective. As it is the hoteliers are lamenting that their woes have not been considered in the latest Permai package.

It is an indisputable fact that the most margainlised segment of society are being confronted with the inability to make payments on borrowings. Thus, an extended blanket marotorium would have been a timely relief. Sadly, the government has found it appropriate to leave it at the discretion of the financial institutions.

Besides the issues raised herein, what ought to have been a cause for concern, on the part of the government, is not only the increasing rate of unemployment but more so the homeless.

And the fact remains that the jobless, and the homeless, are forced to depend on the kindness of sympathetic organisations and individuals for their next meal. Thus, it was not surprising that thousands converged in Putrajaya just to collect a frozen chicken! In our view this single incident epitomises the dire state of financial stress the people are undergoing. Unfortunately, the plight of the jobless and the homeless has not been addressed by the government.

We, therefore, take the liberty to suggest that the government formulates a comprehensive financial assistance programme encapsulating the needs of, primarily, the jobless, the homeless and those entrapped in the vicious low and middle income trap.

K. Veeriah 

Secretary MTUC Penang Division

016 4184520