KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 10 — DAP has warned today that the entire small-medium enterprise (SME) sector comprising of nearly 1 million businesses will be ruined if the government still refuses to reopen the economy in two months’ time.
However, it questioned whether the Perikatan Nasional (PN) government led by the embattled Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin can afford to reopen the economy amid the staggering national Covid-19 death and infections rate.
“In other words, there are only two months left before the government must fully reopen the economy or else the SME sector will collapse,” its secretary-general Lim Guan Eng said in a statement.
“The nearly 1 million SMEs comprising 98.5 per cent of all business establishments employ 7.3 million Malaysians in 2020, constituting 48 per cent of the national employment.
“Is a full reopening of the economy by October possible when the number of daily deaths and infections remain high at 212 and 17,236 respectively for a cumulative 10,961 dead and 1,279,776 infections?” the Bagan MP asked.
To tackle this, Lim urged Putrajaya to waive interest on the six-month automatic bank loan moratorium for everyone including businesses.
The former finance minister also called for RM30 billion in grants, monetary incentives, wage, rent and utility subsidies to be given to businesses to save jobs and slow the rate of them closing down.
Lim highlighted yesterday’s Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) report on the increase of unemployment rate in June which stood at 4.8 per cent compared to the previous month (4.5 per cent).
Lim said that the Perikatan government might have missed the target employment rate of 3.5 per cent by the end of the year after a series of allegedly failed movement control orders (MCO).
Yesterday, it was reported that the unemployment rate in Malaysia had climbed to 4.8 per cent in June 2021 involving 768,700 persons, the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM) reported in the Statistics of Labour Force, Malaysia, June and second quarter of 2021.
Chief Statistician Datuk Seri Mohd Uzir Mahidin said the unemployment rate for May 2021 was at 4.5 per cent with 728,100 unemployed persons.
He said as the country continued to endeavour in flattening the surge of Covid-19 cases, the labour force was faced with a challenging situation in June following the implementation of the full movement control order whereby only essential economic and services sectors were permitted to operate.