Self-employed M'sians on east coast hail announcement of SIP

ADRIAN DAVID and HIDIR REDUAN


KUALA TERENGGANU: Terengganu’s traders and self-employed workers have welcomed the government’s Self-Employment Social Security Scheme (SIP), designed to protect their interests.

Fisherman Wan Adi Wan Salleh said he hopes the scheme will assist those in the lower income group to ease their financial burdens and meet healthcare needs.

“People with jobs like ours have irregular incomes. But expenses (must still be paid to) meet our daily needs, to care for our families – (so) such a scheme is useful,” said the father of five.

Fast food operator Muhammad Fazzree Wan Pauzi said the SIP is a much-needed initiative to address the needs of individuals who have nowhere else to turn to, financially.

“This is really good in these trying times, when many are struggling to make ends meet.

“People like me and my fellow staff members are struggling at times, when business is down, and it adds to depression and anxiety at work, with some getting laid off,” he said.

Advertising and graphic artist Yean Lee feels the scheme should be tailored to complement existing ones, like personal insurance plans already subscribed to by workers.

“Otherwise, it may burden a worker if he has to make additional contributions,” said Lee.

Event organiser Anuar Ngah said it is a good move, but is wary of the scheme’s implementation.

“I hope it will be well-organised for the benefit of the rakyat,” said Anuar, who organises the annual Terengganu International Paragliding Competition.

Gunaa Sivanathan, proprietor of Restoran Tanjung KTT here, said he now feels “better protected”.

“This is the type of facility which the people have been waiting for for a long time, and I hope more will be forthcoming,” said Gunaa.

In KUANTAN, wide smiles greeted news of the government’s move to expand the SIP to workers with “informal” jobs.

Fisherman Mamat Awang, 56, said the scheme will be a help to men in his profession in weathering unforeseen events that may befall them while at sea.

"Fishermen face many risks at sea, such as getting accidentally hooked by their own lures,” he said.

But fellow fisherman Mohd Mat Sohor was a little more muted in his response, urging the government to release more details about how the scheme would be implemented.

"The government needs to clarify what the mechanism behind the scheme is. For example, how would a fisherman be able to file a claim for compensation?" said the 57-year-old.

The two fishermen were responding to today's announcement by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak on plans to expand the SIP in stages to other informal workers like fisherman, farmers, traders and artists.

Najib made the announcement during the 2017 Labour Day celebration at Putrajaya today.

He said the scheme is scheduled to be implemented on June 1 this year.