As part of the effort to support the country's recovery, the Malaysian government yesterday launched the Strategic Programme to Empower the People and Economy (PEMERKASA), worth RM20bn, as well as a new fiscal injection of RM11bn, Bernama reported.

In a live address, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said the new economic stimulus package would focus on 20 strategic initiatives to boost economic growth, support business, and continue targeted assistance to the people and sectors that are still affected.

PEMERKASA has five main focuses, including curtailing the spread of COVID-19, driving economic recovery, strengthening national competitiveness, ensuring a regional and community inclusion agenda, and transforming the economy.

Initiatives laid out in PEMERKASA are as follows: 

  • Increase the allocation for the immunsation programme to RM5 billion from RM3 billion to accelerate the group immunisation target to December 2021 from the initial target of the first quarter of 2022.
  • Increase the allocation for small-scale projects in 2021 to RM5 billion from RM2.5 billion. Among small projects that will be dedicated to class G1 to G4 contractors are repairs such as infrastructure and public facilities damaged due to floods.
  • Micro-credit facilities will be provided. Among others, through Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN), an RM300mn fund will be provided with a financing limit of up to RM50,000, where the interest rate has been reduced to 3.0% from 3.5%.
  • TEKUN Nasional will introduce the TEKUN POS-prenuer programme where applicants can generate income through delivery contracts
  • SME Corporation will provide RM50 million to help local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) obtain financing of up to RM250,000 at an interest rate as low as 3.0%
  • Listing-related fees will be waived for 12 months for companies applying for listing on the Main, LEAP or ACE markets, to encourage companies to raise funds through the stock market.
  • A matching grant of RM30mn has been approved to encourage investment in the mechanisation and automation of the palm oil industry.
  • The Ministry of International Trade and Industry will continue to explore new export potentials, as well as encourage the use of automation and mechanisation among industry players.
  • RM1.2bn has been allocated to provide a one-off assistance of RM500 to 2.4mn recipients from the B40 group, who have lost their income.
  • The Malaysian Insolvency Department will help individuals with bankrupt status facilitate their dealings with the bank in receiving government assistance.
  • RM100mn has been allocated to provide assistance for kitchen items, expected to benefit 300,000 poor households in major cities across the country.
  • An increase of the maximum salary eligibility limit for Disabled Workers Allowance, from RM1,200 to RM1,500 per month.


MEDAC voices support for incentives related to entrepreneurs and cooperatives

On the back of the announcement, the Ministry of Entrepreneur and Cooperative Development (MEDAC) released a statement to voice support for the initiatives under PEMERKASA, particularly those related to entrepreneurs and cooperatives. 

According to YB Dato Sri Dr. Hj Wan Junaidi bin Tuanku Jaafar, "MEDAC is very committed to ensure that this announced initiative can be enjoyed immediately by the targeted entrepreneurs so that their business activities can continue and recover from the effects of the economic slowdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic".

Initiatives the MEDAC is supportive of include: 

  • Geran Khas PRIHATIN or GKP 3.0 which provides each eligible micro-enterprise and SME with one-off assistance of RM1,000. This is expected to benefit more than a million entrepreneurs.
  • Additional financing fund of RM500mn for micro-credit financing facilities through programs under BSN, TEKUN, MARA and SME Corp.
  • For informal sector entrepreneurs, TEKUN Nasional will provide additional funds of RM60mn, especially for the Informal Financing Scheme with a financing limit of up to RM5,000 for small businesses from homes, night markets and guest markets.
  • TEKUN Mobilepreneur will be extended for financing to repair or buy new motorcycles with a limit of up to RM10 thousand.
  • TEKUN will also introduce the TEKUN POS-preneur program where applicants can generate income through delivery contracts. Financing assistance is given up to RM20,000 for the purpose of repairing vehicles, and up to RM50,000 for the purchase of vans or lorries.
  • SME Corp. will provide RM50mn to help local SMEs obtain financing of up to RM250,000 at interest rates as low as 3%.
  • The Malaysian Cooperative Commission will provide financing incentives of up to RM100,000 without collateral to help affected cooperatives. These funding applications will be simplified and the approval process will be expedited by providing repayment flexibility after six months of funding being approved. A total of RM50mn from the Revolving Capital Fund of the Malaysian Cooperative Commission will be allocated which is expected to help more than 14,000 cooperatives.
  • SME Bank will provide a loan fund of RM200mn to finance the purchase of machines with a grant incentive of up to 20% on the value of the machine.
  • Empowerment of women entrepreneurs through the SME and Micro SME e-Commerce Campaign, as well as the Shop Malaysia Online Program, a fund of RM30mn to help them transition to the online marketplace. In addition, BSN will also provide a total of RM50mn for the PEMERKASA-NITA Microfinance Scheme to encourage women entrepreneurs to venture into business.
  • The Tunas Usahawan Belia Bumiputera (TUBE) program will be allocated to produce a total of 250 new Bumiputera youth entrepreneurs. Meanwhile, the New Gen Entrepreneur Online Bootcamp program will be introduced for the purpose of preparation training and online business coaching for 2,000 youth entrepreneurs.

MEDAC is ready to assist in channeling all PEMERKASA incentives to the affected entrepreneurs and cooperatives. With this announcement, it is hoped that entrepreneurs will be able to continue their business operations during this difficult period.


Individuals in Malaysia who have completed the COVID-19 vaccine will be given a vaccine badge 

In other COVID-related news, Malaysia's Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Adham Baba said that individuals who have completed the course of COVID-19 vaccine will be given a Vaccine Badge. 

Dr Adham shared an excerpt of a Sinar Harian report on Facebook which said: "apart from the digital certificates on MySejahtera app, the rectangular card-shaped badge serves as evidence of an individual receiving vaccines."

Speaking to reporters after a press conference with the Minister in the Prime Minister's Department (Parliament and Law) Datuk Seri Takiyuddin Hassan yesterday, Dr Adham said: "This badge cannot be copied because there is a security code. It is also a future requirement."

The Government previously issued digital certificates on the MySejahtera application to those who have completed the National COVID-19 Immunization Program (PICK). This was in line with recommendations by the World Health Organization (WHO) on vaccine passports.

Photo / 123RF

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