Help SMEs with transformation efforts, says youth leader

Businesses including cafes have taken measures to transform their operations to suit the new normal by introducing delivery services. — Filepic

JOHOR BARU: A youth leader is hoping for a people-friendly state budget that can give financial incentives to struggling small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and help revive the tourism industry.

Johor MCA Youth chief Ling Tian Soon said the economic and social effects brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic needed to be addressed in the Johor Budget 2021.

The budget is set to be tabled at the state assembly today by Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad.

“The pandemic and restricted border travel have caused a double whammy to the people, who are suffering from financial constraints and need a boost to help them, ” he said in an interview.

Ling hopes that the state government would introduce incentives or subsidies to assist SMEs in their transformation plans to meet the competitive market demands under the new normal.

“To cope with the new business landscape, many SME have made changes to their business model and moved their operations online.

“While some have flourished in their efforts, others that are cash-strapped are still struggling and finding it difficult to fund its transformation efforts while maintaining operations.

“A successful transformation not only keeps the business running, it also takes care of its staff and their families, indirectly contributing to social and economic growth and stability, ” he said.

Lim gave an example of a food and beverage business that was forced into a rapid change due to the pandemic where in a short period, it started offering food delivery services before experimenting with do-it-yourself and frozen food packs, just to stay afloat.

“The pandemic has forced many businesses into such changes and this reflects the industry’s positive attitude to transform and survive.

“However, these transformations are time and cost consuming.

“Not every business has the means to set aside funds for such research and development, technology conversion and so on, ” he added.

Besides that, Ling also called on the government to give the Johor tourism industry a boost by providing some form of incentive to help them weather the tough times and optimise the various tourist attractions available in the state.

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