Associations: Moratorium needed to help businesses stay afloat during lockdown

BUSINESS groups are lauding the Johor government’s plan to introduce another round of economic stimulus packages since the lockdown came into force.

They hope the state will push for another round of bank moratoriums to help the people.

Some also hope the state will take the lead to help small businesses and petty traders with micro-credit loans.

Johor Indian Business Association (Jiba) president P.Sivakumar said the state’s move to have its own stimulus package would help people affected by the nationwide movement control order and Covid-19 pandemic.

“Many are badly affected, especially due to the border closure since last year, ” he said and urged the state to seek micro-credit loans for businesses.

“There should be a scheme to provide loans up to RM20,000 to businesses that can provide documents and financial figures on their operations for six months.”

Sivakumar also said that Jiba was willing to provide suggestions and feedback on issues faced by businesses.

On the Federal Government’s RM40bil stimulus package, he urged that loan moratorium extension be given to all Malaysians, not only the B40 group and SMEs.

“Covid-19 affects many so the moratorium should also be extended to six months instead of three months, ” he said, calling for the reintroduction of Credit Guarantee Corporation Malaysia Bhd’s (CGC) Micro Credit Loan Scheme with vetting and recommendations by valid business associations.

Johor Indian Muslim Entrepre-neur Association (Perusim) secretary Hussein Ibrahim said economic stimulus packages would ease the burden of the people, especially business owners.

“Any form of assistance is appreciated and will bring some relief to the people. However, an automatic bank moratorium will have positive economic impact.

“We also hope that the state government can help us get rental reduction for our respective business premises.

“The best form of assistance businesses seek is some way to reduce operations cost as most of us are running at a loss, ” he added.

He also welcomed the state’s RM10mil food bank initiative as it would assist the needy.

Johor Indian Petty Traders and Small Business Association (Jipta) chairman D. Ravindran echoed the same sentiments that a bank loan moratorium would help everyone.

“For instance, those renting shops may be able to give discounts to their tenants if given a bank loan moratorium.

“The tenants, who are business owners, will then be able to retain some of their workforce, ” he pointed out.

Meanwhile, Johor Baru Business and Hawker Association president Roland Lim hopes the state speeds up plans to introduce economic stimulus packages.

“Johor government should focus on helping businesses as this will allow more people to keep their jobs, ” he said.

Next week, Johor Mentri Besar Datuk Hasni Mohammad is expected to announce aid for Johoreans under its Economic Stimulus Plan 3.0 – which is a continuation of the existing two packages announced since last year.

Under the latest package, he said the focus would not just be about providing handouts to those affected but to also enhance the state’s management of the pandemic.

Under the first stimulus package, RM167mil was spent to help 295,464 people.

The second stimulus package saw 387,674 people benefit from a disbursement of RM109mil.

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