Kuala Lumpur, July 11–Employers are now asking the government to consider extending the application deadline for the financial assistance in the Wage Subsidy Programme (WSP) to the end of the year, The Star reported.

The WSP is meant to help employers retain local workers.

Employers are eligible for the aid for every local worker they have who are earning RM4,000 and below for a period of three months and a company can claim for up to 200 workers.

The portal quoted the Malaysian Employers’ Federation executive director Shamsuddin Bardan as saying that although the WSP payout “is not that big”, the deadline extension made sense and is useful in helping employers keep their workers as he believes by the end of the year, the situation will be better.

The applications close on September 30.

Shamsuddin said the six-month Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF) levy exemption for its registered members also ends in September and when it does, it could make employers more financially burdened.

He said employers may not have recovered by that time.

Another reason for the extension was that the end of the year could see a jump in unemployment, with the additional yearly entrance of 500,000 people into the labour market.

Apart from extending the WSP application deadline, Shamsuddin said the government should also consider suspending the HRDF contribution beyond September and reducing the mandatory employer Employees Provident Fund (EPF) contributions.

He suggested the employers’ EPF contribution reduced to 5% from the current mandatory minimum of 12%.

SME Association of Malaysia president Michael Kang, in supporting the extension, said many small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are facing cash flow problems and they needed the assistance to pay workers’ salaries.

Failure, Kang said, could result in retrenchment.


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