The Star Online NATION
Monday, 06 Apr 2020
4:12 PM MYT
PETALING JAYA: Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin has unveiled a special stimulus package worth RM10bil aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in a bid to soften the impact of the movement control order (MCO).
According to Muhyiddin, SMEs and micro-businesses made up two-thirds of the workforce of the country and contributed 40% of the country’s economy.
This is an addition to the other economic stimulus packages for the people to increase cash-flow to ensure the economy does not collapse.
Muhyiddin had on March 27 unveiled an economic stimulus package known as pakej prihatin (caring package) valued at RM250bil.
This was after the government had enforced an MCO since March 18 to curb the spread of Covid-19.
The MCO was supposed to end on March 31, but the government extended it until April 14.
Here are the highlights of the Prime Minister’s speech on Monday (April 6):
- The government will increase the wage subsidy of RM600 monthly for employers from RM5.9bil announced on March 27 to RM13.8bil, an additional RM7.9bil.
- For companies that employ more than 200 people, the number of workers who will be eligible for the subsidy is increased from 100 previously, to 200.
- For companies that employ between 76-200 employees, the company will receive a wage subsidy of RM800 for each worker.
- For companies that employ between 1-76 employees, the company will receive a wage subsidy of RM1,200 for each worker.
The aid comes with a condition that employers must retain their staff for at least six months.
- The creation of a RM2.1bil Prihatin Special Grant for all SME companies that qualify.
- The Government will provide a special grant of RM3,000 to each company, which is expected to benefit nearly 700,000 micro SMEs nationwide. These SMEs must register with the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) to enjoy this facility. The government will obtain a list of eligible SMEs from the Local Authorities and Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM).
- The government will be abolishing the 2% interest rate for the RM500mil Micro Credit Scheme under Bank Simpanan Nasional.
- The micro loan scheme for micro businesses extended to Tekun Nasional with a maximum loan limit of RM10,000 per company at no interest. For this purpose, a sum of RM200mi will be provided. Applicants can only choose from one of these schemes.
- The government has agreed to encourage negotiations between employers and employees on the terms of their employment, including the option to deduct salaries, and to allow unpaid leave during the MCO.
- Employers and employees can refer to the Labour Department to obtain advise in regards to any problems arising from a resolution. Negotiations have to be based on employment laws of the country.
- The government has granted an automatic moratorium of 30 days to allow companies to submit statutory documents to the SSM from the last date of the MCO.
- The filing of the companies financial statements is also extended for three months from the last date of the MCO. The flexibility is given to companies with financial years ending Sept 30 until Dec 31. Companies will have to apply for this flexibility from SSM and no late charges will be charged.
- The government has appealed to owners of private premises to reduce rental rates for SMEs during the MCO and three months after it ends.
- They will be given additional tax deductions equal to the amount of rent reduction from April to June. This is subject to the condition that they reduce the rental by at least 30% during that period.