The Government’s additional RM 10 billion stimulus package will help soften the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and movement control order on small and medium enterprises (SMEs), says Association of Belt & Road Malaysia President Datuk Seri Chuah Poh Khiang.

“The additional package shows the government is working to strike a balance between the employer and employee.”

“Initiatives such as enhancing salary subsidising programme that benefit micro and small enterprises, special grant of RM3,000 to micro enterprises, reduction of foreign worker levy, among others, are helpful in strengthening SMEs’ cash flow position to cope with the difficulties ahead, ” he said in a statement yesterday.

“The government’s top priority is to curb the pandemic and restore the economy once the virus outbreak is under control, ” he said.

Chuah said the government should continue to listen to the industry’s voices and communicate regularly with the business communities while continuing to support and assist SMEs even after the pandemic ends.

Meanwhile, Research for Social Advancement (Refsa) Executive Director Tan E. Hun said self-employed and gig workers were among those left out of the additional RM 10 billion stimulus package to help SMEs.

Tan noted that Refsa and other think tanks such as the Khazanah Research Institute and the Institute for Democracy & Economic Affairs had suggested that these groups of people be included under Socso’s Employment Retention Programme.

“The recent announcement is encouraging and will be able to lend some support to the ailing SME sectors. However, there are still many who fall through the cracks.

“We will need a blanket wage subsidy programme so that micro, small and medium companies as well as own-account and gig workers can all benefit from it, ” she said in a statement.