On March 27, Malaysian Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced a RM250bil economic stimulus package to cushion the economic fallout from the Covid-19 outbreak. This staggering boost is more than 10 times the RM20bil allocated in the first package announced by previous PM Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad in February.
The wide-ranging measures in this new package include direct cash payouts to affected citizens, discounted rates for basic necessities, loan payment moratoriums, financial guarantees, and additional allocations for critical sectors like healthcare. The agony of the general public has been answered. Hats off to you, Prime Minister Sir, you have taken care of the people!
But how about the very backbone of the Malaysian economy, the SMEs (small and medium enterprises)? SMEs are in a world of pain right now, with many forced to close their doors and others struggling to keep afloat in the face of the Covid-19 outbreak and the imposition of the movement control order.
According to the Statistics Department, 98.5% of business establishments in Malaysia are SMEs. They contribute about 40% to the country’s GDP, hire almost two-thirds of our workforce. Basically, SMEs are “too big to fail” as we are so dependent on small businesses. If SMEs go down, many would lose their jobs.