Weekly Highlights

The government should allow new applicants for the GKP Tambahan aid

The Prime Minister has announced the Geran Khas Prihatin (GKP) Tambahan assistance under the PERMAI package. Through this initiative, micro SMEs such as hawker stalls, barber shops, and small traders are entitled to receive RM1,000 in aid to assist them through this Movement Control Order (MCO) period.

However, further information revealed by the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) has stated that the GKP Tambahan aid will only be given to those who have been approved under GKP1.0 and GKP2.0, which were implemented last year last year.

This is unfair because two major groups will miss out on the current GKP Tambahan aid.

First, many new businesses were not able to apply for GKP last year because one of the requirements was that businesses must have been established and registered before 31 August 2020.

This means that businesses that were set up and registered after that date were not approved for GKP, and they would again be excluded from the GKP Tambahan aid.

For example, I recently met Mr. Tan who was previously a chef in a restaurant in Melaka. He lost his job in November 2020 because the restaurant closed down. He has tried looking for a new job but was not successful.

He then registered and opened a food stall in a hawker centre in January 2021, but business has not been good because of the MCO. Yet, he would not be entitled to the RM1,000 aid from GKP Tambahan because his business was registered after 31 August 2020.

Second, there are those who were eligible for GKP last year but did not manage to apply for various reasons.

For example, my office received an appeal from Mr. Mazlan, a souvenir vendor in the Melaka heritage area. He was distraught as he had missed the GKP application deadline last year although he was eligible.

Mr. Mazlan has been struggling to feed his family as the tourism sector has been hampered again by the recent MCO. Although he was indeed careless to have missed the previous GKP application, he should not be punished again under the current GKP Tambahan.

Therefore, I call upon the government to review the criteria for the GKP Tambahan aid.

In particular, the government should allow new applications from businesses that were registered after 31 August 2020 and those who missed the GKP application process last year.

Small businesses, especially those who are self-employed, are among the worst affected by the recent MCO. The government must ensure that the aid reaches them in an effective and fair manner.

Khoo Poay Tiong

MP Kota Melaka

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