The wage subsidy programme under Prihatin and other benefits under its SME Economic Stimulus Package have received overwhelming response from employers and employees in the small- and medium-scale enterprises (SMEs) segment.

SME Corp Malaysia chief executive officer Noor Azmi Mat Said said the three-month wage subsidy programme had saved 2.2 million jobs. He said up until June 8, the programme had helped 309,410 employers and 2.51 million workers, with more than 95 per cent of the applications approved. The payments were made through the Social Security Organisation (Socso). “The government has extended the programme until September, and we expect 2.7 million workers to benefit from it, especially those working in SMEs, airlines and tourism.

“Companies in these sectors are among the worst affected by Covid-19, and the assistance provided through the wage subsidy programme may help them restructure their businesses with an optimal workforce,” Noor Azmi told the New Straits Times. He said SME Corp had launched initiatives to help businesses survive and boost their competitiveness.

Capacity-building programmes for micro, small and B40 entrepreneurs, such as BizME were underway and had been enhanced to help these groups adapt to post-Movement Control Order (MCO) and the Conditional MCO periods. “These include efforts to automate and digitalise businesses.” He said findings by SME Corp revealed that many businesses were in need of guidance and reference points in facing Covid-19 challenges. To that end, SME Corp had been directed to improve its communications with businesses to obtain feedback on the situation and identify the assistance needed by SMEs.

Under Penjana, SME Corp had set up the MyASSIST SME online platform to provide companies with financial advisory and information services, trade facilitation, trade innovation, technology support and business matching services. Besides that, he said, the application for its business scale-up programme, BizUP, had been opened to SMEs, where they would be awarded a grant to match their financial needs for capacity enhancements in automation, digitisation and retrofitting for Industry 4.0. He said applications could be made by SMEs related to logistical services, smart city, and other related industries.

Source: NST


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