LABUAN: The Labuan Chinese Chambers of Commerce has appealed to the government make a thorough study on the impacts of the Movement Control Order (MCO) on employers, as it could put them in a quandary due to substantial economic injury and financial constraints.

The chamber felt that there would be heavy financial issues that need to be ironed out by employers, as the government has tightened security and safety, notably, restrictions on border passing and closure of non-essential services sectors, including restaurants and shops, while encouraging the practice of working from home.

Its president, Datuk Wong Kii Yii said the government, as well as the financial institutions need to introduce several initiatives to help businesses meet their financial obligations and cover operating expenses.

“We foresee the MCO impacts on employers are overwhelming and severe…as the order compel people to stay at home, which means no business will be generated and revenue is shrinking… How do we expect to manage the impacts,” he told Bernama.

Wong said the chamber anticipated several financial issues cropping up and potentially witnessing closures of businesses and a surge in unemployment rate.

“When the government announces the six-month moratorium on loan repayments and restructuring of outstanding credit card following COVID-19 involving at least RM100 billion…it is also pertinent to look at the predicaments of employers and business owners facing financial obligations in paying the staff salaries, office rentals and bank loans interest,” he said.

Wong appealed to the government to convince the financial institutions to grant a 50 per cent discount on bank loan interest for a six-month period, as most of the businesses are being impacted by the MCO.

“We also want to appeal to the Ministry of Human Resource to consider a request from (COVID-19-hit) employers to allow them to temporarily pay 50 per cent monthly salaries to their workers, especially for those who are staying at home or working from home,” he said.

Wong also did not rule out the possibility of employers imposing a hiring freeze, reducing the number of workers and cutting the monthly salaries if the pandemic worsens.