ALOR SETAR, April 2 — The government will improve existing aid packages given to small and medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) to help them further mitigate the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar said.
This positive development will be announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin next week after discussions at the ministry level are brought to the Economic Action Council (EAC).
“We will wait for the Prime Minister’s announcement on what are the issues we can resolve and fulfill for the benefit of SMEs. This is because we cannot deny their contributions to the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP),” he said before appearing as a guest on the Ruang Bicara talk show programme on Bernama News Channel last night.
He was responding to reactions from many SME entrepreneurs who have voiced their dissatisfaction over the RM250 billion Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package (Prihatin) announced by the government last week.
Elaborating further, Wan Junaidi said the government would never deny the importance of SMEs, but given the current circumstances the nation is in, the priority is to fight and overcome the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The government has always realised the importance of assisting the SMEs, but we need to first prioritise the effort to flatten the pandemic curve. We do not want to be like Italy. The economy may prosper as much as it wants, but this would mean nothing if there are countless deaths here and there.
“At the same time, the prime minister has ordered for the establishment of a Cabinet committee that will study how to create a balance in resolving both the economic and Covid-19 issues.
Wan Junaidi said at the ministerial level, he has instructed that studies be done on affected industries for them to be regenerated to ensure there is no further slide in the national economy.
“As soon as the movement control order was enforced, the government was already aware of these issues, we are also concerned and do not wish to see the possibility of many SMEs folding.
“And that is why the government had asked for a moratorium and rental waivers to be agreed upon first. Right now we are even helping small and informal businesses such as the makcik who sells kueh,” he added. — Bernama