Provide cash grants to help ease SME's rental burden

KUALA LUMPUR (July 22): The International Strategy Institute (ISI) has suggested that the government provide cash grants for eligible small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in order to help ease their burden on mounting rental arrears that potentially could lead to bankruptcies.

Chairman Cheah Chyuan Yong said the grants could be in the form of a two-month waiver on base rental excluding variable charges for the months of April and May.

He also suggested that landlords absorb the rental for the months of June and July, which could be offset by a property tax rebate at a later date and the tenant pays only for the month of March of which was already paid earlier in that month.

“This way, the burden of paying the 4.5 critical months during the Movement Control Order is shouldered equally by a tripartite relationship,” he said in a statement.

Cheah said in order to ensure the cash grants go to paying off the accrued rental, the government should send a Covid-19 Act notice to landlords detailing the tripartite payment of 4.5 months with the government transferring the money directly into the landlord’s account.

He added the notice should also make it mandatory that all landlords would need to absorb the two months rental (June and July), which could be redeemed as a property tax rebate in the near future and for tenants to cover only one month’s rent for March.

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