Chong: More substantial action needed for SMEs

Chong Chieng Jen

KUCHING, June 5: State and federal governments are not offering substantial assistance to support Sarawak’s SMEs struggling to survive the Covid-19 crisis, claims Chong Chieng Jen.

In a statement today, the DAP Sarawak chairman said that the Sarawak government, in particular, had nothing substantial for SMEs.

“Despite the numerous announcements of ‘special loans to SMEs’, ‘State government absorbing interests on loans for SMEs’ and ‘SMEs are important to the country’s economy’, very minimal amount of funds has actually been channelled to the SMEs.

“It is already in the third month of the Movement Control Order (MCO) and most businesses are feeling the pinch already.

“Many are considering closing down and more are starting to retrench their workers. Yet, both the federal and the state governments are still sitting on their laurels on such an important economic issue, ie. saving jobs,” he stated.

He claimed that Chief Minister’s Datuk Patinggi Abang Johari Tun Openg’s economic stimulus announcements had not benefitted the SME sector because they had yet to receive the interest-free financial stimulus measures.

Chong, who is Stampin MP, noted that under the interest-free loans scheme, it was proposed that the state government would subsidise the interest on the loans to SMEs.

However, he said that the caveat on the scheme was that the state government only subsidised the interest of those special loans provided by the Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) through commercial banks.

“Firstly, these special loans charge very low interest, thus the subsidy on interest provided by the state government is very minimal.

“Secondly and more importantly, there is very limited funds from BNM for these loans to be given out to the SMEs nationwide.

“As a result, many SMEs who applied for such loans through commercial banks, though had their applications approved by the banks, but still have been waiting for the fund from BNM for the disbursement of the loans,” he elaborated.

Chong, who is also Kota Sentosa assemblyman, reiterated that the Sarawak government should be more proactive to help the business sectors especially the SMEs in Sarawak.

“Is it because of the couldn’t care less attitude of those in power or because the governments are actually running out of funds to stimulate the economy?”—DayakDaily