Ahead of the next Parliamentary sitting, Non-constituency Member of Parliament (NCMP) and Worker’s Party member Yee Jenn Jong suggested changes to the Covid-19 Package 1 that was given to support workers and businesses in light of the Covid-19 outbreak.
In a Facebook post on Thursday (Mar 19), Mr Yee wrote that “The situation has gotten a lot more challenging. Certainly a lot more needs to be done, especially for freelancers and SMEs, and in sectors very badly hit”.
During the reading of the Budget 2020, Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat announced a 15 per cent property tax rebate, which relies on landlords of private commercial properties to pass savings on to their tenants.
Referring to this, Mr Yee wrote that, “Save for a business on rented government property, none of the private landlords which my businesses deal with have even mentioned anything about giving back rebates despite us asking”.
“This part is poorly executed in stimulus package 1”, Mr Yee said.
Mr Yee explained that should more relief be given to landlords in a second Covid-19 relief package, and said relief should be given only when landlords have demonstrated that they had provided relief to the tenants, in a co-sharing basis between the government and landlords.
Despite all that the government wwas doing, Mr Yee explained that there would still be casualties.
“The problem is that certain type of businesses that depends on having human interactions such as events, performances, tourism, etc, these will have to suffer a long time before there can even be any business coming back. How can businesses be compensated for activities they had not done and it is not their fault that such activities cannot be done? How much of salaries can the government subsidise and for how long?” he wrote.
Mr Yee concluded that there will likely be a global recession affecting all countries simultaneously, and that Singapore will not escape.
“Package 2 has to go deeper and wider to save as many jobs as possible, though many will still be lost”, he added.
Echoing a sentiment shared by many other opposition politicians and parties, he concluded his post, “We should all be focused on fighting the disease spread and on the economy, and not have to worry about election campaigns at this time”. /TISG