TAWAU, Sept 25  — When the demand for physiotherapy services became scarce following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, a physiotherapy centre operator Chu Wei Shyong was distraught over the fate of his five employees.

Chu, who has been operating the centre here over more than five years ago, refused to lay off his staff, who are all locals with dependents counting on them.

“My business is 50 per cent affected following COVID-19, till this day because it depends on walk-in customers and the biggest cost I have to bear is the salary of the staff,” he told Bernama here.

Grateful for the Wage Subsidy Programme under the National Economic Recovery Plan (PENJANA) announced by the Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in early April, the businessman said the initiative had enabled his company to receive the RM1,200 wage subsidy per worker, which helped him to retain his employees without having to cut their pay.

Chu said the decision to issue unpaid leave notice, was a difficult one to make, let alone terminating their employment since all of them had no other source of income. 

“Thank you to the government for helping the people regardless of their backgrounds and for understanding the struggles we face including the traders whose income was affected,” he said.

The prime minister had recently announced the extension of the wage subsidy programme as well as the Prihatin Special Grant under the Prihatin Supplementary Initiative Package (Kita Prihatin).

Chu said the extension had once again brought relief to small traders like him whose businesses were still affected by the sluggish economy.

“The company’s income is still lacking, especially with the spike in the (COVID-19) cases in Tawau with more than 300 cases, this is worrisome.

“This 2.0 stimulus package announced by the prime minister recently has once again helped my business and the people,” said Chu.


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