KUCHING: The Chief Minister has announced two additional measures worth RM78.5 million under Sarawakku Sayang Special Assistance (BKSS) 7.0 Plus to assist small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and micro enterprises in Sarawak amidst the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg said the first measure – a special one-off financial assistance of RM10,000 for active SMEs in Sarawak registered with Social Security Organisation (Socso) was extended from Dec 31 last year to March 31 this year.
“This financial assistance is expected to benefit 470 active business entities, which will cost the Sarawak government direct expenditure amounting to RM4.7 million,” he said when officiating at the BKSS 7.0 symbolic handover ceremony at Wisma Bapa Malaysia on Thursday (Oct 14).
Under the second measure, the Sarawak government would also provide a special one-off financial assistance of RM3,000 for micro enterprises in Sarawak registered with Socso.
He said these micro enterprises would also be required to provide the relevant supporting documents.
“This financial assistance will be paid in December this year and is expected to benefit approximately 24,600 micro enterprises. This will cost the government direct expenditure of RM73.8 million,” he said.
Abang Johari noted that the enforcement of the movement control order (MCO) with temporary closure of non-essential businesses to curb the spread of Covid-19 had affected the business community, particularly SMEs.
“I have had discussions with the chambers of commerce from all the stakeholders. Arising from that dialogue, I agreed to give this special assistance to those who are affected by the pandemic,” he said.
He pointed out that the most significant challenge in dealing with the crisis was to balance the state’s financial resources with the need to save lives and protect the livelihoods of the people, economic sectors, and businesses, as well as to safeguard the interests of the present and future generations.
“Thus, we have developed preventive measures with tight standard operating procedures (SOPs) to protect the lives of our people, whilst ensuring our economy continue to grow in spite of the pandemic,” he said.
He added that the state government had implemented seven BKSS packages thus far with 30 programmes and initiatives, amounting to RM5.3 billion, to ensure every Sarawakian is protected, to support the business community, and to revive the economy despite Covid-19.
He said the enforcement of the MCO, implementation of BKSS 1.0 to 7.0, and the Covid-19 immunisation programme were all complementary to each other in tackling the pandemic.
“Sarawak is now in Phase 3 of the National Recovery Plan (NRP). We foresee greater opportunities for improvement in the state’s economy as most of the businesses begin to operate with updated SOPs by the State Disaster Management Committee (SDMC),” said Abang Johari.
Also present were State Secretary Datuk Amar Jaul Samion; Local Government and Housing Minister Datuk Seri Dr Sim Kui Hian; Assistant Minister of International Trade and Industry, Industrial Terminal and Entrepreneur Development Datuk Mohd Naroden Majais and State Financial Secretary Datuk Seri Dr Wan Lizozman Wan Omar.