4.8 million SME workers to benefit from revised wage subsidy programme

PETALING JAYA: About 4.8 million workers from small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will benefit from the government's wage subsidy programme, which was increased from RM7.9bil to RM13.8bil.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, who announced the special SME stimulus package on Monday (April 6), said all employees with a salary below RM4,000 a month will benefit from the wage subsidy programme.

Companies with 200 staff members and above will be eligible for a RM600 wage subsidy, while companies that employ between 76 and 200 employees will receive RM800 for each worker.

Companies that employ between one and 75 employees will receive RM1,200 for each worker.

The wage subsidy is for three months and is meant for employers whose companies are registered with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM) or the local authorities before Jan 1,2020 and registered with the Social Security Organisation (Socso).

It also comes with a condition that employers must retain their staff for at least six months, Muhyiddin said during his live address to announce the new stimulus package for SMEs.

He also announced the setting up of a RM2.1bil Prihatin Special grant for all qualified SMEs.

A total of RM3,000 will be given to each company and this is expected to benefit 700,000 “micro SMEs” nationwide.

These SMEs must register with the Inland Revenue Board to enjoy the grant, he said, adding that the government will obtain a list of eligible SMEs from local authorities and CCM.

Muhyiddin also said the government will be abolishing the 2% interest rate for the RM500mil Micro Credit Scheme under Bank Simpanan Nasional.

Muhyiddin announced the rental exemption or discount for SME grocery store owners who are operating in premises owned by government-linked companies (GLCs).

“I want to thank GLCs such as Mara, Petronas, PNB, PLUS, UDA, as well as several state-owned companies which agreed to provide discount or rental exemption for SME tenants in their premises.”

Referring to the principal of collective burden, Muhyiddin is urging every privately-owned premises to emulate the GLCs by providing a rental discount during the movement control order (MCO) and at least three months after the MCO ends.

He said that landlords who chose to provide a minimum 30% discount on rental for SME tenants would be eligible for a tax rebate from April 2020 to June 2020.

He also urged licensed moneylenders to provide a moratorium on the instalment payments by SMEs for six months beginning April 2020.

“I hope that licensed moneylenders will sympathise with the hardship faced by their customers and together help them lessen their financial burden.”

According to Muhyiddin, the special stimulus package worth RM10bil was drafted as a response to concerns raised by SMEs following the initial announcement of the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package.

Muhyiddin said he received letters, memoranda and also views from groups which had told him that businesses are severely affected, and additional aid from the government was needed.

“I realised that SMEs are the main pillars of the national economy. This sector contributes to more than two-thirds of jobs in Malaysia and also more than 40% to the economy.

“Therefore, it is important that we ensure the SME sector can remain resilient and strong in facing pressure and economic challenges that we all face together at this moment, ” he said.

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