Malaysian Employers Federation calls for assistance for small businesses

The employers' group has urged the government to provide a moratorium on compulsory contributions to tide small businesses through tough times.
By: | June 17, 2021

Providing a moratorium on compulsory contributions to the Human Resource Development Fund and Social Security Organisation will help with the cash flow of small businesses, which is vital for their survival, says Anne Kung, vice president of the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF).

She also suggested having a moratorium on Employees Provident Fund contributions, but said that this should be used as a last-resort measure. 

Kung, who is also treasurer of the Sarawak Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said although the Sarawak state government had announced various forms of aid for small businesses, many are still struggling. 

If the total lockdown continues to be extended, the state government would not be able to provide financial aid to groups like petty traders and hawkers. “I don’t think the federal government can afford to give that sort of financial help. Last year, there was a RM600 (US$146) wage subsidy for six months only, this time around, there isn’t a similar subsidy,” she said. 

On the bright side, the pandemic has accelerated the pace small firms in Sarawak are moving their businesses online. 

READ: Malaysia’s SME Association urges decisive measures to tackle pandemic

On its part, the state government has initiated a programme to further improve internet connectivity. She said, “Sparse internet coverage in Sarawak has hampered the ability of small businesses to use the internet for their businesses. The state government is on target to provide 4G coverage to 300 underserved areas using its own funds and has also helped set up its own online trading platform to assist small companies to sell their products,” according to Free Malaysia Today.