Pemulih: Aid package targets different income groups


Relief for the rakyat: From a six-month automatic loan moratorium for all borrowers to additional subsidies for employers, the Pemulih package covers all groups. — Bernama

PETALING JAYA: From the hardcore poor and students to the middle class and above, as well as businesses, most say they are thankful for the Pemulih.

It has been lauded as one “with something for everyone.”

Those who qualify can get some relief while the nation remains in Phase One of the National Recovery Plan.

Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia’s SME committee chairman Koong Lin Loong said Pemulih “covers all sectors, all people and the economy.”

“The six-month automatic loan moratorium for all borrowers, regardless whether they are from the B40, M40 or T20 groups or are micro-entrepreneurs, is no doubt helpful for all to weather the challenges,” he said.

“There is no qualification requirement; borrowers only need to apply and approval will be given automatically by the banks.

“This is what many people, regardless of what income group they are in, have been hoping for as they have run out of savings while their income has been affected.”

Koong also lauded the automatic payment exemption for the Human Resource Development levy for two months for employers which are not able to operate during the lockdown.

“This will certainly free up the cash flow of many companies, which is much needed in these trying times,” he said.

He also commended the continued wage subsidy scheme, where the government will support up to 500 workers per employer with an assistance of RM600 per worker for four months.

Malaysian Consortium of Mid-Tier Companies president Callum Chen gave the thumbs-up to the increase in financing guarantee schemes by another RM10bil to RM36.5bil for small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

“This is one good way for the government to raise money in the market to help the people.

“Such guarantee schemes will see more business loans being guaranteed by the Finance Ministry’s Syarikat Jaminan Pembiayaan Perniagaan Bhd (SJPP) that will see improved company access to financing, given that it encourages banks to take on more risk.

“With due diligence checks by both banks and SJPP, the risk of loans becoming non-performing is relatively low and we have more money in the market to spur the economy,” he added.

Chen said the scheme should also be extended to mid-tier companies (MTCs) to help all companies with cash flow problems, adding that this would create a “tremendous ripple effect” that would benefit entrepreneurs, banks, and workers at all levels.

Malaysian Indian Restaurant Owners Association vice-president C. Krishnan said while the bank moratorium gives ailing eatery businesses a small breather, the government should consider allowing dine-ins with a maximum of two persons per table.

Small and Medium Enterprises Association Malaysia central chairman Datuk William Ng said the six-month loan moratorium should be extended to all SMEs, instead of once again leaving it to the banks to decide on a case-by-case basis.

Purchaser Nur Basirah Abdullah Chu, 38, said she was thankful there was finally something for her in a government aid package.

“The combined household income of my husband and I put us in the T20 group, but we have been struggling with up to 70% pay cuts since last year as both of us are in the hotel industry.

“The moratorium will be helpful as we are able to have more cash in hand to provide for the family since our savings have depleted over the last year,” said the mother of three young children.

Nur Basirah said she would also have to consider diving into her and her husband’s retirement savings once again should the situation worsen.

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