The Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) has received as many as 345 complaints against employers under the Wage Subsidy Programme (WSP) since its implementation in June, said the deputy minister of the Human Resources Ministry, Awang Hashim.
“SOCSO has received 345 cases of complaints against employers regarding payments under the WSP involving RM19,986,200. From the complaints received, 155 cases of false claims and misuse of WSP funds were identified by SOCSO,” Awang said during a parliament session.
Awang also elaborated that investigations are still ongoing for the remaining 190 cases, where employees who lodged the complaints were requested to provide more details. He said that SOCSO is working with the Human Resources Ministry and the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to act against employers who made false claims. “If there are cheating or making false claims, action can be taken against the employers under Section 415 and 417 of the Penal Code,” he added.
The deputy minister further explained that payments offered via the Wage Subsidy Programme will be temporarily suspended for employers who are still under investigation for false claims. Meanwhile, those who are proven to have made fraudulent claims will need to refund the money paid to them.
The Wage Subsidy Programme was first revealed under the Prihatin economic stimulus package in March 2020, and was intended as a way to help companies keep their employees. Through the programme, the government will pay a monthly salary of RM600 for three months to eligible employees.
The programme was subsequently extended in June for another three months via the PENJANA economic recovery plan with some enhancements and updated conditions. Following the end of this first round of extension, it was then succeeded by the Wage Subsidy Programme 2.0, announced under the new KITA PRIHATIN economic package in September 2020.
On top of all the above initiatives, the Wage Subsidy Programme may make yet another comeback in 2021 as Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz had proposed a fourth implementation of the programme during the tabling of Budget 2021. This time, however, the programme will be carried out only for targeted sectors. In particular, the programme will benefit employees earning less than RM4,000 in the tourism and retail sector, providing them with RM600 for three months.
(Source: The Star)