The PERMAI Stimulus Package revealed yesterday by the Prime Minister of Malaysia was a let down, said Malaysian Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (MACEOS) president, Francis Teo.
“The business events industry is already severely impacted, plus we are not allowed to operate during this movement control order (MCO). The PERMAI package did not provide a significant financial stimulus package to help revive the business events industry,” Teo commented.
Under the financial package, the wage subsidy programme (WSP) would be extended for one month to all employers regardless of the business sector. They stand to receive a wage subsidy of RM600 for each employee earning less than RM4,000, but Teo says this is hardly enough.
Instead, MACEOS proposed a wage subsidy of 50 percent for those earning up to RM6,000 for three months to mitigate the cascading impact on businesses even after operations have resumed after the MCO. Eligible employers must prove 80 percent or more decline in revenue or income compared to January 2020.
“A one-size-fits-all wage subsidy does not work here. The business events industry has suffered terrible losses, close to 90 percent loss in revenue, equivalent to RM2.25 billion since the first MCO started in March 2020 in Malaysia. Many will be on the brink of winding up if a stronger financial package is not provided,” he said.
Teo also felt that the 10 percent electricity bill discount offered to six specific business sectors, including convention centres, was not going to be of much help since the industry was not allowed to operate during the MCO. He hoped that the Government would provide a more solid financial aid programme targeted directly at the business events industry focused on higher electricity and water bill discounts, wage subsidies, and reduced assessment rates.
Teo said that many industry players were struggling to stay afloat, utilising various strategies to keep business going, including salary cuts, work from home arrangements, and taking unpaid leave. “We are cutting operations costs as much as possible. There is nothing else we can skimp on.