Government announces RM10b additional assistance for SMEs

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on April 7, 2020.

Muhyiddin: All eligible micro SMEs are entitled to a special grant of RM3,000. These companies must register with the IRB to enjoy this benefit. (Photo by Reuters)

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KUALA LUMPUR: The government yesterday announced an additional RM10 billion assistance package targeted at helping small and medium enterprises (SMEs) affected by the movement control order (MCO) and Covid-19 pandemic.

Here are the measures announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in a televised speech:

1. Expanded subsidies for SMEs with employees earning RM4,000 and below

Companies benefiting from this subsidy will have to retain employees for six months — during the three-month period they receive the subsidy and three months after receiving the subsidy.

•     RM600 per employee for companies with more than 200 employees.

•     RM800 per employee for companies with 76 to 200 employees.

•     RM1,200 per employee for companies with up to 75 employees.

2. Special PRIHATIN grant totalling RM2.1 billion for all eligible micro SMEs

All eligible micro SMEs are entitled to a special grant of RM3,000. They must register with the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) for this benefit.

3. Abolishing interest rates for the Micro Credit Scheme under Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN)

The scheme has also been extended to TEKUN Nasional with a maximum limit of RM10,000 for each company at an interest rate of 0%. A sum of RM200 million has been allocated for this purpose.

4. Rental exemption or discounts for SMEs operating on premises owned by government-linked companies

Majlis Amanah Rakyat, Petroliam Nasional Bhd, Permodalan Nasional Bhd, PLUS and UDA Holdings Bhd, along with several companies linked to state governments, have agreed to give discounts or a rental exemption for SMEs.

5. Tax breaks for landlords that give rental discounts or exemptions to SMEs

These landlords will be given additional tax breaks equivalent to the amount of rental that has been reduced for April to June 2020. However, the landlords will have to give at least a 30% rental discount to be eligible.

6. Lowering foreign worker levy by 25% for SMEs with employee permits expiring between April 1 and Dec 31, 2020

The levy is not applicable to housemaids.

7. A moratorium of 30 days for the submission of statutory documents by SMEs to the Companies Commission of Malaysia (CCM).

8. An extension of deadline for the submission of financial statements to three months after the end of the MCO

This only applies to companies with financial years ended Sept 30 to Dec 31, 2019. Companies must apply with the CCM for the extension, with no late fees imposed.

9. Application of loans via the ImSME.com.my portal

The portal, operated by Credit Guarantee Corp with the support of Bank Negara Malaysia, also offers the MyKNP service, providing SMEs with funding advice.