Malay Economic Action Council hopes business premise owners join hands in battling Covid-19

KUALA LUMPUR (April 9): The Malay Economic Action Council (MTEM) has expressed hope that private business premise owners will step forward to help the government battle Covid-19.

It urged them to emulate the step taken by Government-Linked Companies (GLCs) to waive the rental of their premises or offer rental discounts to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as underlined in the additional measures under the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package (PRIHATIN) unveiled on Monday.

MTEM chief executive officer Ahmad Yazid Othman said it was time for all parties to sacrifice in a concerted effort to contain the pandemic, instead of taking advantage of the situation.

He said the RM3,000 special grant for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) that are registered with the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) was a welcome move as it would help many entrepreneurs who have lost their income for a month.

The abolishment of the 2 percent interest rate under the Micro Credit Scheme amounting to RM500 million under Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) showed that the government is concerned about the plight of the affected businesses, he said in a statement here yesterday.

Ahmad Yazid said the success of the additional measures depend on their implementation and how the authorities channelled the assistance to the deserving recipients.

He said a number of groups may miss out on the assistance, especially those who were not eligible due to incomplete documentation or have not made subscriptions with the Social Security Organisation and register with the Companies Commission of Malaysia.

Ahmad Yazid said each bank sets different criteria for loan approvals, depending on the type of businesses and how long they have been in operation.

"In our opinion, banks still want to determine the applicants' ability to pay back when deciding whether to approve the loans," he said, citing the Central Credit Reference Information System (CCRIS), which needs an audited account, for example.

“The efficiency and speed of the banks and agencies involved in processing and releasing the funds will also be another factor. From our findings, many banks prioritise companies that are deemed good by them.

“The last in line will get whatever crumbs left behind. How much and how fast they can give the loan will be critical,” he said.

MTEM is concerned that if this factor is ignored, only certain groups will benefit from the assistance and most of MSMEs will be sidelined in the profit-seeking system with most of them being Bumiputera businesses at all levels, as well as startups (of less than two years), regardless of race.

"This will further complicate the march towards the Shared Prosperity Vision that the government aspires to achieve," he said.

“I wish for the smooth functioning of the Economic Stimulus Implementation & Coordination Unit Between National Agencies (LAKSANA) and not as the proverb goes ‘yang dikejar tak dapat, yang dikendong berciciran’ (It’s better to hold onto something that you already have than risk losing it in pursuit for something better)

"Many relevant government agencies may need to be mobilised to help make PRIHATIN package a success," he said, adding that MTEM would continue to provide feedback to the government in fighting Covid-19.

Stay calm. Stay at home. Keep updated on the latest news at #stayathome #flattenthecurve

Click here to see residential properties for sale in Kuala Lumpur.

Click here for more property stories.

Looking for properties to buy or rent? With >150,000 exclusive listings, including undervalued properties, from vetted Pro Agents, you can now easily find the right property on Malaysia's leading property portal EdgeProp! You can also get free past transacted data and use our proprietary Edge Reference Price tool, to make an informed purchase.
  1. Malaysia’s active Covid-19 cases dip below 100 for first time, as recoveries continue to outpace new cases
  2. Airbnb sees domestic travel surge, rising almost 190% month-on-month
  3. WHO Director-General says 141 Covid-19 vaccines being developed worldwide