RM5.2 billion distributed under Prihatin wage subsidy, says HR minister

Kuala Lumpur, 14 July 2020- The Social Security Organisation (Socso) has distributed RM5.2 billion under the Prihatin Wage Subsidy Programme as of June 30, 2020, said Human Resources Minister Datuk M. Saravanan.

He said the services sector recorded the highest number of applications for the programme at 92,000, adding that as of June 30, 319,000 eligible employers had received the fund, to be distributed to 2.6 million employees.

“The programme started with an initial allocation of RM5.8 billion, which was subsequently increased by an additional RM8 billion at the request of the industry players,” he told the Parliament during the oral question and answer session today.

He added that the time period for the programme had also been extended from three months to six months.

Saravanan said due to the implementation of the Movement Control Order to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, many companies had to suspend their operations, which made it harder for them to retain their staff.

“The initiative aims to alleviate the Covid-19’s adverse economic impact which had led to a rise in the unemployment rate,” he said.

According to the Socso’s Employment Insurance System’s retrenchment records, 48,727 people had lost their jobs from January to June 30, 2020.

Data from the Malaysian Statistics Department revealed that the unemployment rate in the country had increased to five per cent or 778,800 people in April — a 44.8 per cent rise, year-on-year.

The services sector was one of the most adversely affected sectors, especially the accommodation, food and beverages, arts and culture, entertainment and recreation sub-sectors, including beauty centres and salons.

“The government has implemented various initiatives to reskill and upskill those who have lost their jobs to help them in getting new jobs,” Saravanan added.

― Bernama