Giving employees a festive bonus not unheard of, says SPCAAM

Employers in Malaysia are more than able to give employees a festive financial bonus, says non-profit organisation.
By: | February 27, 2024

Are festive bonuses for employees unfeasible? The Social Protection Contributors Advisory Association Malaysia (SPCAAM), a non-profit organisation that advocates for the promotion and defence of employees’ right to social protection, does not believe so.

The group has publicly refuted the claims made by Syed Hussain Syed Husman, President of the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF), and William Ng, President of Small and Medium Enterprises Association of Malaysia (Samenta), who have reservations about giving bonuses to employees during the festive season.

J. Solomon, President of SPCAAM, has shared that local businesses have been recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, as proven by record tax collections that the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) has posted annually since 2021.

“If business owners and corporations are still recovering from the Covid-19 pandemic as Syed Hussain and William Ng claim, how is it possible for IRB to make such a record haul?” asked Solomon.

Solomon said in 2022, the IRB marked a record haul of RM175.4 billion (US$36.72 billion), representing a 21.75% surge from the previous year with corporate tax alone contributing RM97.94 billion (US$20.5 billion), highlighting substantial fiscal contributions from businesses. He added that the Malaysian economy grew by 8.7% in 2022 compared to 3.1% in 2021, while exports in January 2024 rose by more than 8.7% from a year earlier to RM122.43 (US$25.63) billion according to the Ministry of International Trade and Investment.

With those claims, Solomon questioned the claims that both men made regarding the lack of feasibility to give financial aid to employees, reported Malay Mail.

Syed Hussain countered that the proposal to give one-month festive aid to employees would place a significant financial burden on employers at a time when most businesses were “merely surviving”.

Groups such as SPCAAM, he said, “must understand that businesses are not banks”.

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Solomon, however, rejected those assertions, citing international examples, such as Indonesia’s approach to employee welfare, highlighting the feasibility of fostering a culture of fairness and proportionality in evaluating the value of employees.

“The Malaysian employer must be mindful that all employees including the general manager in Indonesia receive a one-month salary and the government has made Festive Aid mandatory,” Solomon concluded.