KUALA LUMPUR – The Malaysian government is making a one-off payment of RM600 (US$139) to registered taxi drivers, tour bus drivers, trishaw operators and tour guides.
The Ministry of Finance (MOF) said in a statement, "The government hopes this assistance will ease the burden of the people in living a challenging daily life due to the COVID-19 outbreak.”
The Malaysian Association of Tour and Travel Agents (MATTA) had previously insisted that the recently announced Economic Stimulus Package, did not go far enough.
“What will happen after the handouts are fully given out by May when employees find themselves out of a job because the businesses they used to work for have been forced to close shop?” said MATTA president Datuk Tan Kok Liang.
MATTA said the tourism industry, which employs 3.5 million people and contributes 15.2% to Malaysia’s GDP, saw revenues fall by a 90% in March and was looking at a near total-loss in business for the months of April, May and June.
“Many businesses, especially SMEs, may have no choice but to start retrenching employees - a move that will have a long-lasting ripple effect on many other industries,” MATTA said.