KUALA LUMPUR (Nov 18): A total of 2,713 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Malaysia closed down between March and October this year, during which the movement control order (MCO) was implemented in various phases to stem the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri M Saravanan said in Parliament today records from the Social Security Organisation (Socso) show that 221 employers closed down their businesses despite having received aid under Socso's Wage Subsidy Programme (WSP).
Saravanan was responding to Klang Member of Parliament (MP) Charles Santiago’s queries, which included the number of companies that had received wage subsidies and were forced to close down, the number of SMEs that closed down, and the number of individuals going bankrupt from March to October due to the pandemic.
Saravanan said today he could not get the number of individuals who had gone bankrupt as the information was with the Department of Insolvency.
He said that in a move to decrease the debt ceiling for those filing for bankruptcy, the government had doubled the debt ceiling from RM50,000 to RM100,000 to decrease the number of bankrupts in the country.
Meanwhile, Saravanan said 388 complaints were lodged with Socso by employees against employers who abused the WSP payments amounting to almost RM20 million.
Saravanan said that out of the 388 complaints, 232 cases are still being queried by Socso before further action is taken.
He said the 388 complaints include 156 fraudulent claims involving WSP fund misuse by employers.
Saravanan said that Socso had blacklisted 5,537 employers for sacking their staff without making Socso contributions.