The package also provides special grants for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), and more financial support for struggling households. Finally, the package aims to increase the capacity and expedite the provisions of vaccines, which includes 400 million ringgit (US$96 million) for vaccine purchases.

Extension of the wage subsidy program

The government has allocated 3.8 billion ringgit (US$915 million) to extend the wage subsidy program for the next four months.

Under this program, the government will subsidize 600 ringgit (US$144) for up to 500 employees per employer. Previously, there was a salary cap of 4,000 ringgit (US$963), but this has now been waived. There will be a payment for two months for all sectors in phase two of the National Recovery Plan (NRP), and the next two months specifically for sectors categorized in the negative list (not allowed to operate) in the third phase of the NRO.

The government is aiming to target 2.5 million workers with this initiative.

Special grants for MSMEs

Malaysia’s central bank, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), will provide an additional 2 billion ringgit (US$481 million) in financial support to MSMEs. To date, there is still an existing 6.6 billion ringgit (US$1.5 billion) out of 25 billion ringgit (US$6 billion) provided by BNM for the benefit of new applicants.

Additional payments for Prihatin Special Grant receivers

The Prihatin Special Grant (PSG) was first issued in 2020 to assist micro-entrepreneurs in Malaysia and has since helped more than 900,000 MSMEs, with a total allocation of 3.58 billion ringgit (US$862 million).

Under Pemulih, the government has provided an extra 1,000 ringgit for each participating business, divided into two installments of 500 ringgit (US$120) each, paid in September and November 2021.

Government guarantee scheme

The government has increased the ceiling of its government guarantee scheme to assist SMEs for 2021 from 10 billion ringgit (US$2.4 billion) to 36.5 billion ringgit (US$8.7 billion).

Enhancement of micro-loans

There is an additional 1.1 billion ringgit (US$265 million) in financing facilities for micro-enterprises provided by Bank Simpanan Nasional (500 million ringgit (US$120 million)), AgroBank (500 million ringgit (US$120 million)), and the National Entrepreneur Group Economic Fund (100 million ringgit (US$24 million).

This additional funding, together with existing funding, means some 3 billion ringgit (US$722 million) in micro-financing is available for micro-enterprises.

Loan moratorium for MSMEs

A six-month loan moratorium is available for qualifying MSMEs as well as individual borrowers (only for those categorized as B40, M20, and T20 segments).

MSMEs will have to undergo a review by the bank and applications open on July 7, 2021. Since the introduction of the Pemerkasa Plus package, over 250,000 borrowers have had their moratorium applications automatically approved. Borrowers can only choose between a three-month loan repayment moratorium or a 50 percent reduction in their loan repayments for six months.

Electricity discounts

The government has prepared a discount on electricity bills ranging from five and 40 percent on maximum usage of 900 kilowatt-hours (kWH) a month.

For electricity usages below 200kWH, there is a 40 percent discount available and a 15 percent discount for usages of between 201kWH and 300kWH for three months starting from July 2021.

Small entrepreneur digitalization empowerment program

To assist micro-enterprises and SMEs in accelerating the digitalization of their business, the government has allocated a total of 300 million ringgit (US$72.2 million) for the following initiatives:

  • Encourage the participation of micro-enterprises in e-commerce platforms;
  • Support the SME Digitalization Grant, which provides SMEs with grants of up to 5,000 ringgit (US$1,204) to subscribe or purchase for digital platforms; and
  • Empower agro-entrepreneurs to utilize technology under the Agriculture Sector Digitalization and Transformation Program.

According to AseanBriefing