Malaysia unveils additional $3.3 billion Covid-19 economic stimulus measures

The programme includes RM7 billion in cash aid, assistance for small businesses and a wage subsidy scheme. PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS/THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced on Wednesday (Sept 23) an additional economic stimulus package worth RM10 billion (S$3.29 billion) in a bid to help industries and citizens badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The programme includes RM7 billion in cash aid, assistance for small businesses and a wage subsidy scheme, Tan Sri Muhyiddin said in a televised address.

The announcement comes as Mr Muhyiddin faces a challenge from opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, who on Wednesday said he had secured a strong majority in parliament to form a new government.

Mr Muhyiddin said the wage subsidy would be given to companies who are experiencing revenue reduction of up to 30 per cent compared to last year since the recovery movement control order (RMCO).

A wage subsidy of RM600 monthly will be given to a maximum of 200 employees each for three months.

Applications are open from Oct 1 until Dec 31.

Mr Muhyiddin said that he received feedback that many companies were not eligible for the scheme because they were not registered with the Social Security Organisation (Socso) before April 1.

He said that to make sure they were not left behind, the second scheme would be open for companies that were registered with Socso before Aug 31.

"For new applications that have never received assistance under the Wage Subsidy Scheme programme, they will be eligible for subsidies for up to six months," he said.

He said that the implementation of the scheme was expected to benefit 1.3 million workers and involved an allocation of RM2.4 billion.

Mr Muhyiddin also announced a special extension of a grant to help micro businesses that were facing financial difficulties because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said that the applications for the grant from May 1 to 15 had benefited 545,000 small businesses around the country, with an allocation of RM1.63 billion.

He added that to ensure more of these micro businesses benefited from the grant, the government agreed to reopen applications from Oct 1 to 31.

Mr Muhyiddin said it would be open to business owners registered with the Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM), or with local authorities before Aug 31, with payments to be made from Nov 25.

"The reopening of this initiative is expected to benefit more than 200,000 micro businesses, with an allocation of almost RM600mil," he said.

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