by NUR HANANI AZMAN / Pic by TMR GRAPHIC
A TOTAL of RM421.2 million has been channelled through the Micro Credit Financing under the short-term National Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana) to bene t 12,666 micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as of May 14, 2021.
Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said the number included applicants from the retail and services sectors.
“The government has allocated assistance to support technical and digital consumption for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and middle-tier companies,” he said in the 54th National Inter-Agency Economic Stimulus Implementation and Coordination Unit report yesterday.
Under the Strategic Programme to Empower the People and Economy package, more than 5,000 tour agencies registered with the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry will receive RM3,000 in a one-off special assistance.
As at April 16, RM2.57 million had been distributed to 858 tour operator companies.
The government had also agreed to provide a one-off cash assistance of RM600 to homestay operators registered with the ministry, benefitting more than 4,000 Malaysian Homestay Programme hosts or entrepreneurs.
As at April 15, RM183,600 had been distributed to 728 homestay operators in Perlis, Selangor and Terengganu for the first phase.
As for other initiatives, such as the frontliners allowance, he said as at May 14, RM719.51 million had been channelled based on 2.01 million claims received from doctors, nurses and other medical personnel directly involved in managing and curbing the pandemic.
“This special allowance was also extended to military personnel, police, the customs, immigration, firefighters, members of the Civil Defence Force and People’s Volunteer Corps members directly involved in implementing the Movement Control Order,” he added.
He said the government had allocated RM400 million in support of the agriculture and food industry, for farmers, ranchers and fishermen, of which RM350 million was allocated under the Agrobank Micro-credit Financing Scheme.
“As of May 14, a total of RM151.02 million had been channelled under this scheme to benefit 12,644 agricultural micro SMEs.
“Food security is very much emphasised in Penjana and the 2021 budget,” he said.
Although the closure of the Malaysian border has resulted in job losses, the electrical and electronics (E&E) industry continues to strengthen in the face of this Covid-19 challenge.
The results of that survey conducted by the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) found that five E&E companies in April required at least 1,000 employees with engineering qualifications to meet high demand for E&E products.
Given that about 1.5 million foreign workers in Penang have already returned to their countries of origin, Tengku Zafrul said the demand gap for industry-skilled human resources is now increasing especially in the E&E manufacturing sector.
“According to FMM, some companies are willing to train new employees and offer specialist employees from competing companies with more lucrative job packages and salaries.
“For those who lost their jobs especially from sectors such as tourism and the food and beverage industry, although they cannot be absorbed immediately into the sector, perhaps they can take advantage of the Skills and Skill Enhancement Programme to build appropriate skills in different sectors,” he said.
Tengku Zafrul explained that through the establishment of the National Employment Council, the issue of skills mismatch can be managed through training and job placement programmes conducted by ministries and agencies to match the supply and demand of human resources in Malaysia.
“Programmes such as PenjanaKerjaya 2.0 and the short-term employment programme also contribute to the government’s target to provide 500,000 jobs by the end of 2021,” he said.