Small business operators are calling upon the government to give urgent and special attention to micro enterprises to help them survive now and in the post Covid-19 days and months to come. Surviving the last two months is already a big thing for most enterprises but to continue from here is going to be an extremely a tough task if not an impossible one.
According to Datuk R. Rajendran, the CEO of Krista chain of kindergarten and childcare centres, the early childhood education industry will be anxiously looking forward to get any direct financial and material help from Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development and also Ministry of Education.
“While the PERKESO’s wage subsidy programme is a great help in assisting to pay employees’ salaries, small business owners are burdened with various other overheads to pay when the income is zero. To add on, certain businesses like childcare and kindergarten need quite a lot of money to re-start their businesses after Movement Control Order is fully lifted.
“Looking at the Post Lockdown Covid-19 safety guidelines set, there are many things early childhood centres need to prepare before they could start taking in children and students.
“They need to thoroughly clean and disinfect their centres and many bottles of hand sanitisers will be needed to be used on a daily basis once centre re-opens. Many face masks will also be needed in the centre to ensure utmost hygiene,” he said in statement today.
He said, once businesses resume operations, the level of demand is not going to be the same again and with the buying of the additional materials and to continue with the usual high overheads will be too much for them to cope.
“Therefore, it would be a great help if the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development and Ministry of Education can give out these materials nationwide to all these centres and operators.
“We need to bear in mind that childcare and kindergartens make only very small profits even during good times and they are the backbone of all working parents providing safe and reliable care for their little ones while they are at work,” he said.
Rajendran who is also the Chairman of Koperasi Pendidikan Swasta Malaysia said that apparently, these businesses and other education enterprises are still not really getting positive responses or approvals from the Pakej Rangsangan Ekonomi Prihatin Rakyat allocated for the PKS. Many owners of tuition centres, private schools, colleges including universities are not getting the financial assistance they badly needed.
“They don’t seem to meet some of the criteria or banks are still stringent with their requirements even during these difficult times for the enterprises. Government agencies and ministries should intervene to look into the interest and survival of businesses that comes under their purview rather than just providing SOPs for businesses,” he said.
He noted that while most traders and companies have already started their operations, schools and other education institutions will have to wait much longer to resume their businesses.
“Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin had already said that the government will postpone reopening schools until the situation is safer and the Covid-19 outbreak is under control. We don’t know when exactly schools will be allowed to open.
“While it is suggested that private institutions implement e-learning or home-based learning during this period, the measure will only help to stay connected with the parents and students. Collecting fees will be tough,” he said.
He added that the government intervention in ensuring that education providers get the much needed help is much envisaged by the members of the Koperasi.
“These are some of the grouses received from Koperasi Pendidikan Swasta Malaysia’s members and associates,” said Rajendran.