Nizam Khalyd

KUCHING: As Malaysia battles the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, many businesses struggling to stay afloat at least for the next six months.

That was why yesterday, in a statement, Sarawak Entrepreneur Association (SEA) president Nizam Khalyd welcomed the federal government’s RM250-billion Prihatin Rakyat Stimulus Economic Package (Prihatin) which was announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin last Friday.

“Owners of micro businesses with household income below RM4,000 per month will receive one-off payments of RM1,600 each by May,” he noted.

While he applauded the government for introducing a special fund for SMEs and making facilities under the fund cheaper and more accessible to businesses, he stressed that the SMEs need more than just new loans and bank moratorium to pay salaries, loans and rents especially when their revenues have been disrupted.

“Business owners are not attracted to new loans as they don’t want to end up with more debt. Thus, the government can consider making grants and subsidies easily accessible as well,” he said.

On the Wage Subsidy Programme, he asked the government to consider making the eligibility and requirement for the subsidy to be more lenient so that small entrepreneurs with total sales turnover below RM5 million would be eligible automatically in order to sustain them for the coming six months.

“The government can also consider tax-free incentives of at least RM10,000 to RM100,000 for small-medium businesses that have an annual turnover of RM50 million and below. These tax-free incentives will help to cover operational cost which include rental, loans and staff costs,” he said.

He also mentioned that the extension of the movement control order (MCO) till April 14 would prevent non-essential businesses from generating revenues.

“The government can assist these SMEs, which make up 98.5 per cent of business establishments in Malaysia, to avoid mass retrenchment,” he said.