Businesses pleading for financial assistance amid lockdown

PETALING JAYA: With a total lockdown to be enforced from June 1-14, business groups have urged the government to provide urgent financial assistance.

They said targeted assistance is needed to support hard-hit sectors, especially those that require in-person interactions or travel.

The Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM) urged the government to speed up the disbursement and spending of the Budget 2021 allocation of RM322.5bil, especially the RM5bil for small and medium projects across the country.This would create a wider economic multiplier for construction and manufacturing industries, it said.

“This is crucial to support domestic demand that can benefit small and medium-sized contractors as well as supply chains such as suppliers, hardware businesses and building material suppliers, ” it said in a statement yesterday.

To ease cash flow and financial problems, ACCCIM urged the government to continue the enhanced targeted repayment assistance, give a one-off cash grant, extend the wage subsidy programme, and extend the HRDF (Human Resource Development Fund) levy.

It also requested a 25% discount on foreign worker levies, an extension of the 10% electricity bill discount, an extension of the special tax deduction for providing a reduction of rental at least 30% on business premises, and a postponement of income tax instalment payments for three to six months.

ACCCIM also called for the Temporary Measures for Reducing the Impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) Act 2020 to be extended to December as many businesses and individuals faced difficulties in meeting contractual obligations.

The group also hoped that the vaccination programme would accelerate, while simpler standard operating procedures (SOP) as well as proportional strict enforcement can be implemented.

“Compliance is everyone’s business. Everyone must comply with the SOP and precautions.

“The SOP must be strictly enforced; the rules and guidelines need to be clear, consistent and sensible in terms of fairness and equitability, ” it said.

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