KUALA LUMPUR – SME Association National Vice President, Yap Keng Teck, said the announcement of the PEMULIH package shows how the government indeed listen to the people and the industry as it greatly focuses on continuous caring for the rakyat, supporting businesses and increasing vaccination rate.
Caring for Rakyat
“The government has always been putting their focus into caring for the rakyat first if we look into all the stimulus packages. I am happy that PEMULIH has not left out the M40 again. Despite the assistance is merely RM250 per household and RM100 for singles, M40 whom many have even more financial burden is being looked into,” said Yap Keng Teck in a statement on June 29.
He said that the government is commendable to extend the Job Seeking Allowance to new graduates, school leavers, and informal workers like freelancers.
“The Place and Train initiative undertaken by HRDCorp is also the most practical approach to reduce unemployment,” he remarked.
“This is what is closest to my heart being the National Vice President of SME Association of Malaysia and running a consulting agency supporting SME business growth. The government never failed to take care of micro SMEs which is over 76% of total SMEs. The GKP 4.0 is announced with an additional RM500 to be paid in the months of September and November to over 1 million entrepreneurs,” he said.
Yap Keng Teck also viewed the decision of extending the PSU 4.0 which applies to all sectors and to employees with a salary of more than RM4,000 to be a wise decision as this will indirectly keep jobs of many M40.
However, Yap Keng Teck highlighted that there is still a group that the government might have missed out on – the undergraduate interns. There are fewer opportunities for internships as employers would prefer hiring experience talents with Hiring incentives instead of paying interns allowances.
“I am happy that the interests of many non-essential services and industries during the FMCO are being looked into. The creative industry, childcare centre, tourism, school canteens, sports-related businesses, all will be given RM1,000 toRM 3,000 one-off assistance despite those amounts being insufficient to stay afloat.
“Yet there is still disappointment over the bank loan moratorium which is still subject to banks’ evaluation and approval. The industry has highlighted the importance and urgency of an automatic loan moratorium with an opt-out option. Surveys and researches have many times indicated the seriousness of cash flow issues,” he said.
Yap Keng Teck said that the speed of vaccination is the key and only way to get Malaysia out of this pandemic and economic turmoil.
“It is relieving to know that the government is continuously increasing the number of PPV and all to be operated 7 days a week. The government should consider getting civil servants or unemployed / retrenched workers as volunteers to assist in these PPV so that the operating hours can be extended as well. The government can offer a higher allowance to unemployed / retrenched workers which will help to reduce their financial burden,” he remarked.
However, Yap Keng Teck said that more Ministries should kick off the Public-Private Partnership Covid-19 Industry Immunisation Programme (PIKAS) immediately in order to achieve herd immunity faster and shorten the period of the National Recovery Plan. Based on a recent report by MITI, almost 670,000 workers have been registered under 4,500 companies for PIKAS.
“Overall, I am still in the opinion that PEMULIH is a good package. Yet, the government needs to acknowledge that the announcement of policies and packages is just half of the story. The ultimate success to help people and businesses is still highly dependent on execution. In the period of the pandemic, speed is crucial to control the COVID-19 virus as well as ensuring the government assistance reach the people and businesses quickly in order to put food on the table and to avoid the closure of businesses,” he concluded.