AS the Covid-19 pandemic is still impacting people’s livelihoods and causing challenges to public health, some of the Penang assemblymen, stakeholders and men on the street are hoping for a ‘caring’ state budget next year.
After being severely affected by the unprecedented health crisis, coupled with uncertainty for some of the businesses, many are keeping their fingers crossed for a better outlook.
Pulau Tikus assemblyman Chris Lee told Buletin Mutiara that the pandemic has taken a toll on everyone.
“Many of the people have lost their jobs during this challenging period.
“Hence, I hope the state can emphasise job creation in the upcoming budget to assist the people.
“This aspect is important to prevent Penangites from working in other places. They can instead opt to work in the state when the career prospect is bright.
“Besides that, stimulus assistance must also be channelled to the art performers, who had totally lost their source of income.
“Some of them hardly eked out a living and I hope the state will keep an eye on this.
“Also, as the Pulau Tikus elected representative, I hope the wet market can be upgraded,” he said.
Machang Bubok assemblyman Lee Khai Loon concurred with his colleague, saying Budget 2022 must focus on the well-being of the people amid the pandemic.
He emphasised the importance of technology tools and digitalisation trend nowadays.
“Many of the poor families are facing difficulties accessing the internet connection, especially in rural areas.
“We hope the state can look into this aspect to encourage the participation of the people in social media.
“Separately, I hope the state can continue to strengthen public facilities for the elderly, in view of the aging population issue,” he added.
Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce (PCCC) vice-president Datuk Finn Choong told Buletin Mutiara that many small medium enterprises (SMEs) and small medium industries (SMIs) have been impacted due to the series of lockdowns.
“These SMEs and SMIs are important contributors to the state’s economic growth and revenue.
“Without these SMEs and SMIs, the state’s growth would be dampened. That’s why, the upcoming budget needs to invigorate the economy.
“Due to the unforeseen circumstances of pandemic, many of our daily lives have been disrupted.
“Hence, I hope the state will be looking into this aspect,” he said.
Meanwhile, a masseur at the Blind Massage in Jalan Sungai Ujong urges the state to increase the yearly payout to the disabled.
Johari Saad hopes the budget would take the plight of disabled group of people into account.
“Our business has been badly affected and I hope our grievances will be heard,” he said.
Story by Edmund Lee
Pix courtesy of interviewees