SHAH ALAM - Three days off work, paid return flight tickets, and a RM300 (S$101.60) allowance for each worker to return home to vote may sound too good to be true.
But this is exactly what Malaysian construction material company owner Sim Yen Peng, 43, will be doing for all 11 of his staff members from Sabah and Sarawak.
Mr Sim, who hails from Miri in Sarawak, said he is doing this to encourage them to return home for polling day.
This would the first time that his Shah Alam-based company Marble Emporium Sdn Bhd is giving out the incentives and that his employees are over the moon with the move.
"I'm doing this because voting is our responsibility to the country," he told The Star newspaper on Tuesday (April 10) when contacted.
His staff will each get three days off from May 8 to May 10, free return flight tickets, and also RM300 travel allowance.
Polling Day for Malaysia's 14th general election is on May 9, a Wednesday, with many people complaining that it would be tough for many people to apply for leave to return to their hometowns to vote.
Mr Sim's gesture has gone viral, with social media users praising the company.
Several other companies and individuals are also coming out to say they will allow their employees time off, or are willing to fork out cash to help defray travelling costs for those who might need them to return home on May 9, according to The Malay Mail Online (MMO) and Malaysiakini news sites on Tuesday.
Others have started carpooling hashtags to match up vehicle drivers and voters who are going the same way to their hometowns.
Publishing group Karangkraf, publisher of Malay daily Sinar Harian, said its staff will get one day off on May 9, to cast their votes.
Public relations company Shekhinah PR not only gave its employees two days off, but will bear the cost of petrol and toll charges for all employees who would have to make return trips to their hometown, MMO said in a report.
Several other employers were quoted in the same report as saying they will shut down their operations on voting day, while several university lecturers say they will drop classes that day.
Legal adviser Michelle Yesudas tweeted that she had set aside a sum of RM300 for anyone needing financial assistance to travel to their voting centres, and this had been given out to three people, Malaysiakini reported.
Caretaker deputy home minister Nur Jazlan Mohamed said on Tuesday that there is no need to declare the polling day as a public holiday, as existing laws require employers to give time to their workers to vote.
"No need to declare May 9 a public holiday to allow people to vote," he said in a Twitter posting. "Under the Election Commission Act (Election Offences Act 1954) employers are compelled to let their employers to go and vote. Neither are they allowed to intimidate and prevent their employees from voting. Punishment for an offence is RM5,000."