PETALING JAYA: Closure of companies, laying off workers and job losses will probably start happening in May in view of the national shutdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce said today.
It said the government must prepare itself to face this potential problem now and put in place effective measures to prevent the collapse of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which will give rise to a wide range of problems.
“MCCC feels local governments could also provide assistance to various trades and industries,” it said in a statement today.
MCCC said it was urgent for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to give clear instructions and for local governments to take the initiative to help the SMEs cope with the difficulties and join hands to tide over the hard times.
It pointed out that according to the data from the entrepreneur development and cooperatives ministry, about 90% of enterprises in Malaysia are SMEs.
“All parties must attach importance to this lifeline and support it so that the future national economy is well sustained.”
MCCC called on the government to pay heed to the financial problems faced by SMEs, especially cash flow problems.
It wanted the government to provide comprehensive support through tax cuts, interest rates and loan facilities to prevent their collapse and protect the employment opportunities of the people.
It suggested that the government direct assistance to the SMEs during the movement control order (MCO) by helping them pay at least 25% of their employees’ salaries.
A quick survey it conducted showed SMEs need more government assistance to survive the financial difficulties.
“The survey reflected that downsizing is one of their considerations now. Some may even close their businesses.”
MCCC praised the government’s RM250 billion economic stimulus package announced yesterday to ease the people’s woes but hopes the government will also step up efforts to help SMEs overcome their difficulties. FMT
Stimulus will be felt for more than 3 months, says Azmin
KUALA LUMPUR: The benefits of the government’s new stimulus package will continue to flow beyond the next three months, senior minister Mohd Azmin Ali said today.
In an RTM interview today, Azmin, who is minister for international trade, said: “I am confident that this package is not just about three months but will bring about manifold benefits for the future in economic activities and growth.”
Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced RM250 billion in measures to be taken under the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package yesterday to cushion the adverse impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Azmin said the economic situation would simply deteriorate without any form of assistance. “Companies won’t be able to operate and will have no choice but to retrench their workers. We have to resort to this (stimulus) to save these workers and help employers not to dismiss them.”
“Our hope is that when the movement control order (MCO) period is over, we can see a situation that is more reassuring,” he said.
Azmin revealed that the finance ministry had prepared a programme for the disbursement of assistance to target groups of the stimulus package.
“We have complete data on the recipients from the B40 and small and medium enterprises (SME),” he said.
“As for the M40, we have some setbacks: the government had given less priority to that category. That’s probably the reason why we do not have the complete data but this will be seen to, so that they, too, can benefit,” he added.
Last night, leaders of Pakatan Harapan had described the RM250 billion package as “decent” but had doubts about its impact on ordinary Malaysians beyond a two-month period.
In a statement signed by PKR president Anwar Ibrahim, Amanah president Mohamad Sabu and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng, the opposition coalition said more needed to be done to assist SMEs, which are bearing the economic brunt of the national shutdown.
FMT / MKINI