In another special address today, prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced additional relief initiatives under the “Prihatin Plus” Economic Stimulus Package (Pakej Prihatin PKS Tambahan) targeted specifically at the small and medium enterprises (SMEs). An additional MYR10 billion has been allocated to help SMEs retain jobs for their employees.
On that note, the allocation for previous salary subsidy programme has been upped from MYR5.9 billion to MYR13.8 billion.
The prime minister said he received feedback and memorandums from various parties including the SME Association of Malaysia about the plight of SMEs affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and the Movement Control Order (MCO) and the need for additional assistance from the government.
SMEs account for more than two-thirds of the workforce in the country and contributes almost 40 percent to the GDP. Therefore, it is imperative for the government to help alleviate the financial burden of SMEs and ensure jobs are retained during this trying time.
Through the new Prihatin Plus initiative, employees earning MYR4,000 and below will enjoy additional salary subsidies as below:
- For companies with more than 200 employees, a salary subsidy of MYR600 will be given out to each employee that is retained. The maximum number of eligible employees for the subsidy has been doubled from 100 to 200.
- Next, for companies with 76 to 200 employees, they will receive a salary subsidy of MYR800 per employee.
- Lastly, for companies with 75 employees and below, they will receive MYR1,200 per employee.
This subsidy is valid for three months and is applicable to companies that have registered with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) or local authorities before 1 January 2020. They must also be registered with SOCSO (PERKESO). About 4.8 million employees are expected to benefit from the new initiative.
Companies who choose to receive the subsidies must retain their employees for at least six months—three months during the subsidy period and three months thereafter.
That aside, the government has established a special Prihatin grant (Geran Khas Prihatin) totalling MYR2.1 billion for eligible micro-SMEs. The special grant worth MYR3,000 will be distributed to each micro-SME. Around 700,000 micro-SMEs stand to benefit from this initiative.