KUALA LUMPUR: Travel agent Muhamad Faizal Padil stared at the possibility of the end of his 20-year career when the industry came to a halt due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Attached to KTNB Travel and Tour, he had sleepless nights thinking of his fate as he watched how rapidly small-scale travel agencies shut down, as well as agents and hotel staff lost their jobs.
Some were given only a week’s notice, others just 24 hours, while the luckier ones were told to go on unpaid leave, he added.
However, he said he was grateful as his company had benefited from the government’s Wage Subsidy Programme, which helped safeguard people’s jobs and keep operations of companies going.
“I was worried after seeing what happened to my friends and how the industry came to a standstill due to the virus.
“I even resorted to becoming a delivery rider during the Movement Control Order (MCO) period.
“Then came the programme, which helped me keep my salary in full.
“I am thankful that I was not subjected to any pay cut.
“The programme helped my company’s operations as we are strategising moves to transform our business to go digital and contactless in light of Covid-19.”
The programme also saved the jobs of Razmin Izzati Mohamad Rusnin and N. Sritharan, who are both working for Port Klang’s VG Offshore Containers International (M), the largest containerised and modular solution provider in Malaysia.
Razmin, 30, was concerned about her job as project coordinator after seeing her sister getting retrenched in April.
“I wasn’t worried about being laid off earlier as I was confident that the company would not resort to retrenchment.
“But I was a little troubled when I found out about my sister’s predicament.
“I am glad that I can retain my position with the company through the government’s programme.
“I am also able to help my sister pay for her car loan since she lost her income.
“The i-Lestari withdrawal for Employees Provident Fund contributors to ease the financial burden of the people during the Covid-19 pandemic has also helped the financial situation of my sister and my family.”
She said the government should consider extending the programme beyond December when the Recovery Movement Control Order ended.
For Sritharan, 33, uneasiness set in during the MCO as the company’s output was zero.
“I was worried as I have to support my wife, mother, brother and grandmother, who are all living with me in Klang.
“On top of that, being confined at home during the MCO meant that food expenses shot up.
“However, as a beneficiary of the programme, I am able to continue in my employment as a production manager.
“It came at a right time and would benefit small-scale companies and those suffering financially during this period,” he said.
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