Businesses must learn how to adapt to the current situation to survive the pandemic, says SME group.

PETALING JAYA: While small and medium enterprises (SMEs) look forward to restrictive travel measures being eased, the Prihatin Special Grant (GKP) 2.0 has enabled them to stay afloat during the Covid-19 pandemic.

SME Association of Malaysia president Michael Kang said the grants helped SMEs to sustain their businesses although many were “still bleeding” during this second movement control order (MCO 2.0) period.

He told FMT that a long-term solution would be to allow SMEs from all sectors to fully operate and generate cash flow by themselves.

He added that another extension of the automatic loan moratorium and rental subsidies would help SMEs to survive through the current economic situation.

Small and Medium Enterprises Association (Samenta) president Kam Lian Hooi said the second round of grants was especially helpful for specific businesses which required financial support during this trying, challenging time.

Samenta members were more keen on having an extension of the wage subsidy programme as 70% of them had benefited from the scheme as of last December, he said.

Kam added that the programme had prevented 90% of SME employers from retrenching their workers, while the remaining 10% were micro-SMEs with less than 10 staff.

“Grants and wage subsidies do help, as we have seen overseas where other governments also provide wage subsidies to help their people during the pandemic,” he told FMT.

Despite the government’s financial aid, Kam stressed that the most important aspect for a business to survive the pandemic was to learn how to adapt to the current situation.

“Beyond receiving grants, they must take the initiative and effort to create business for themselves. They cannot run their businesses the same way as before,” he said.

The finance ministry has begun channeling payments worth a total of RM155 million to around 52,000 SME owners who filed for the GKP 2.0 since last Friday.

The total number of recipients, including those from the first batch of grants, adds up to almost 900,000 businesses with the financial assistance valued at RM2.7 billion.

Last month, in announcing the RM15 billion Permai package, prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced that the special grant would be extended to over 500,000 SMEs in states under the MC0 2.0, with a payment of RM1,000 each.

The expansion involves an additional RM650 million in funds, while SMEs in other states are set to receive RM500 each. - Free Malaysia Today