Government incentives have helped smaller companies to survive the pandemic, says the SME Association of Malaysia. (Bernama pic)

PETALING JAYA: The Prihatin Supplementary Initiative Package, better known as Kita Prihatin, has been a crucial lifeline for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) during the Covid-19 pandemic period.

SME Association of Malaysia president Michael Kang said the Wage Subsidy Programme had helped firms and employees to tide over tough times, particularly when the movement control order was enforced from March.

“A lot of SMEs have been able to survive, thanks to the WSP. The finance ministry really did a good job, especially by providing the subsidy and also the loan moratorium.

“All these initiatives have really helped us a lot. If it weren’t for them, today, we might have more than one million Malaysians who may have lost their jobs,” he told FMT.

Michael Kang, president of the SME Association of Malaysia.

Kang said the Prihatin special grant for SMEs also helped companies retain their staff and also provided them with working capital, thus, enabling them to pay off vendors and any other expenditures.

“With the working capital, they can continue running their businesses and there’s a chain effect. If they have funds, they can pay vendors and vendors can make payments.”

Small and Medium Enterprises Association (Samenta) president Koay Chiew Guan said the WSP and special grants ensured that SMEs had consistent cash flow and enabled workers to keep their jobs and bosses to keep their firms open.

“Our earnings have been affected, so this is a really good initiative as it really helps us during this difficult time,” he told FMT.

Koay said the second phase of Bantuan Prihatin Nasional cash aid which will benefit some 10.6 million Malaysians and also benefit SMEs, will encourage spending and consumption by putting money into the people’s hands.

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He added that the RM50 e-wallet credit for those who registered for the MySejahtera app also encouraged SMEs to digitise their businesses by embracing digital wallet platforms.

“In a way, it helps businesses to revive. We have to digitise to keep up with the trend. If we don’t improve ourselves then we will die standing. Everybody has to change their way of survival, change to the new norms,” he said.

Kang expressed hope that the government’s delivery system would improve a bit more in the next few months, saying there were some slight hiccups with the distribution of the WSP funds.

“That’s the only setback. We hope the disbursement of funds can be sped up. Remove all bureaucratic hurdles, then our economy will be better and more people will be able to retain their jobs.”



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