KUALA LUMPUR – Businesses need to change their strategies to remain competitive amid an abundance of government assistance, said Bank Islam Malaysia Bhd chief economist Dr Mohd Afzanizam Abdul Rashid, reported Bernama.
He said the economy would recover in the second half of this year and businesses should start diversifying to sustain in the long run during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The Strategic Programme to Empower the People and the Economy (PEMERKASA) announced last week, is merely to provide a kind of backstop measures which is very transitory.
“Hence, all they need to do is to galvanise all available resources including government assistance, so that these businesses can move forward,” he told Bernama.
Mohd Afzanizam said businesses may need to venture into new products, new markets or partnerships within the business ecosystem.
“Businesses must be able to cope with limited cashflows and, at the same time, be able to forge into new areas or markets,” he added.
PEMERKASA worth RM20 billion is the sixth stimulus package since 2020, bringing total value amounting to RM340 billion.
Among the assistance given is the RM500 million allocation for microcredit financing facilities via programmes under Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN), TEKUN, Majlis Amanah Rakyat dan SME Corp.
Besides that, one-off assistance of RM1,000 for the Prihatin Special Grant 3.0, as well as the RM700 million Automation and Digitisation Facility for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to obtain loans have been given.
Meanwhile, Bumiputera Manufacturers and Services Industry Association of Malaysia president Datuk Azman Yusoff opined that the association’s strategy to strengthen the business is to have better living conditions for work on-site and in housing areas, as well as strict standard operating procedures for workers on site.
Through PEMERKASA, the small infrastructure contractors, especially in the G1 to G4 categories, have benefited from the assistance, as the allocation has been raised from RM2.5 billion to RM5 billion.
“We need to ensure the small jobs like G1-G4 take off immediately because the national construction industry is very much affected during Movement Control Order 2.0, as most jobs that had been awarded, are not being carried out.”
“So more opportunities for new business ventures for small contractors via tenders, direct awards and other methods, are available,” he said.
Azman suggested that the Construction Industry Development Board takes the lead on works on-site and workers’ issues, via engagement sessions with the relevant authorities and the Minister of Works.