Micro Smes From Informal Sector Left Out Of Govt Aid Says Group
Micro SMEs such as wedding planners and nurseries are struggling to cope without any aid available to them. (Bernama pic)KUALA LUMPUR: Micro small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which are not registered with the relevant government authorities are feeling the heat after being left out of the government’s Covid-19 assistance schemes, according to a group representing them.
Industries Unite, a coalition of more than 40 trade, business and professional associations throughout Malaysia, said there were a handful of micro SMEs that fall into this category.
As a result, said the group’s coordinator David Gurupatham, the information on government assistance as well as the guidelines and procedures did not apply to these SMEs.
He said the situation could be changed by engaging business associations and representatives from these sectors in government discussions.
“Engage with business associations and representatives, especially on the Prihatin and Penjana economic stimulus plans, so that no one is left out and small businesses get the accurate information.
“And ease the red tape and bureaucracy so that micro SMEs have easier access to the assistance,” he told Bernama.
David also said the special electricity rebate under the Permai package did not reach micro SMEs and was focused on commercial sectors.
The six sectors in the commercial category are hotel operators, theme parks, convention centres, shopping malls, local airline offices, and travel and tour agencies, he added.
Meanwhile, Wedding Professionals Association of Malaysia president Patrick Low claimed that this sector had often been overlooked although each event could involve between 25 and 50 sub-sectors.
“More than 100,000 businesses were affected and the workers are jobless with many cancellations and postponements due to the movement control order (MCO). This involves the self-employed with some of them being husband-and-wife teams.
“They do not have EPF or Socso benefits, which means they don’t get to withdraw their iSinar and they don’t qualify for wage subsidy. These are micro businesses that not everyone knows how to run,” he said.
Low said their problems have been exacerbated by banks rejecting the majority of loan applications as they do not have proper supporting documents.
According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia, the wedding industry was estimated to be worth RM10 billion in 2020, while the retail sales value for plants, flowers, seeds and fertilisers were worth RM1.66 billion.
In 2018, the wholesale value for flowers and plants amounted to RM809 million while cut flowers and plants totalled RM122 million. - FMT
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