As Putrajaya imposes ‘total lockdown’, SMEs say already running on empty

A deserted Jalan Bukit Bintang duing the CMCO November 23, 2020. Small and Medium Enterprises Association (Samenta) chairman Datuk William Ng urged the government to consider restoring the loan repayment moratorium from last year as well as continue the ongoing wage subsidy scheme. — Picture by Hari Anggara
A deserted Jalan Bukit Bintang duing the CMCO November 23, 2020. Small and Medium Enterprises Association (Samenta) chairman Datuk William Ng urged the government to consider restoring the loan repayment moratorium from last year as well as continue the ongoing wage subsidy scheme. — Picture by Hari Anggara

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KUALA LUMPUR, May 28 — Many small-medium enterprises exhausted their savings during previous movement control orders and were unlikely to survive without urgent government assistance for the “total lockdown” starting next week, said an industry group.

Small and Medium Enterprises Association (Samenta) chairman Datuk William Ng urged the government to consider restoring the loan repayment moratorium from last year as well as continue the ongoing wage subsidy scheme.

“Many of our SMEs have run out of reserves. Some have reported that they are owing landlords and suppliers for months. They were hopeful that they can still deliver on some pending orders to recover some funds to pay these.

“The total lockdown will make it difficult, if not impossible to do so,” he said in a statement.

Ng said SMEs have been supportive of the government and its policies throughout the pandemic, including holding onto employees even as larger corporations retrenched.

The Samenta chief asked the government to reciprocate this by considering the plight of SMEs that employ millions in Malaysia.

Tonight, the Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement to announce a “total lockdown” from June 1 to 14, during which all non-essential services and activities will be prohibited.

The list of essential services has not been released nor has the standard operating procedures that will apply.

However, the PMO did say the Finance Ministry was drawing up an assistance package for Malaysians and affected sectors, which will be announced soon.

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