SCCCI moots six forms of govt assistance to urgently help SMEs reeling from MCO

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SIBU, April 2: Sibu Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCCI) has proposed six forms of government assistance to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

According to the chamber in a press statement, SMEs are feeling the bite of the movement control order which has been in force since March 18 to contain the spread of Covid-19.

“Help is urgently needed. We propose the following assistance to support SMEs including, but not limited to wage subsidies targeted at SMEs and the private sector, 50 per cent from the federal government, 25 per cent from the states, and 25 per cent from employers; waive employers’ EPF and SOCSO contributions for three months; halve personal and company income tax for income tax years 2020 and 2021; waive Sales and Service Tax (SST) for year 2020; waive utilities bills during MCO for affected businesses; and exclude government staff and households with income less than RM8,000 per month from the “Bantuan Prihatin Nasional” Programme,” it proposed.

On March 27, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced the RM250 billion Economic Stimulus Package.

However, SCCCI asserted that this package provides little assistance to ease the financial and operational burden of SMEs

It pointed out that over two-thirds of enterprises in Malaysia are SMEs and micro-enterprises. They collectively employ the most people and make a significant contribution to the economy.

“Since the “Movement Control Order” (MCO) was enforced, most SMEs’ operational activities but not those of enterprises that come under “essential services”, have been suspended. However, these SMEs are required to continue to pay their employees their full salaries and are not allowed to insist their employees take annual leave or unpaid leave during the MCO period.

“This restriction undoubtedly significantly increases the financial burden and that many SMEs may not survive past MCO period.”

SCCCI also felt that stimulus packages revealed so far are inadequate to keep these SMEs in business.

“The “Bantuan Prihatin Nasional” programme supports individuals. The “Wage Subsidy Programme” although aimed at helping employers in retaining their workers, it is still unclear how businesses will benefit from it,” the chamber added. — DayakDaily