By INS Contributors

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia--The Ministry of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives (MEDAC) and its agencies are offering moratorium and other targeted assistance with an estimated value of RM746.79 million for the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to help cushion the impact of the nationwide lockdown order.

The assistance offered is expected to benefit a total of 734,707 borrowers and tenants of the agencies, which also include micro enterprises as well as informal businesses – those in the B40 category.

MEDAC Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi said the SMEs, particularly micro and informal businesses, are among the groups severely affected by the third nationwide movement control order (MCO 3.0) and require all the help that they can get to stay afloat.

Based on a survey conducted by MEDAC in February to gauge the impact of MCO 2.0 on SME sector, more than half of the respondents said that they are uncertain of the future and can only sustain their businesses for three to six months should the lockdown order continues.

“Many of these small businesses do not have much savings to fall back to and because of that they need all the assistance they can get to survive. We hope the moratorium and targeted assistance provided by agencies under MEDAC would help them in these trying times,” he said.

The agencies providing the moratorium and targeted assistance are Bank Rakyat, SME Bank, TEKUN Nasional, SME Corp, Perbadanan Nasional Berhad (PNS), Cooperatives Commission of Malaysia (SKM) and UDA Holdings.

Meanwhile, Dr Wan Junaidi said MEDAC is currently embarking on another survey to gauge the impact of MCO 3.0 on the SME sector, which include micro enterprises as well as informal businesses.

Since more than 80 percent of the SMEs provides products and services that are in the non-essential services, he said many of the industry players will be affected the lockdown this time round, which is more stringent than the previous one.

Based on an earlier survey, aside from financial aspect, many entrepreneurs admit that they are also suffering from COVID-19 fatigue following the many uncertainties particularly on operational SOPs.

“From the survey, we hope to be able to assess the situation better and subsequently help us in coming up with a more targeted assistance and programmes that would best suit the SMEs,” he added.