Malaysia’s Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Ministry expects the delay in the disbursement of financial aid for COVID-19 affected SMEs in the state of Sarawak to be resolved within two months.

Minister Datuk Seri Wan Junaidi Tunku Jaafar noted that there were a number of SMEs which had yet to receive financial aid despite their applications having been approved, as the documentation for fund withdrawal was yet to be completed.

“There were about 20 approved applicants (in Sarawak) which had not received the financial assistance, which is a small number compared to those which had gotten it. There was a delay due to the high number of applications received, but this is expected to be resolved within the next two months,” said the minister during a visit to a drainage project at Kampung Tabuan Selipar Putus in Kuching.

The minister’s statement is in response to recent complaints by several SMEs that have yet to receive the promised assistance under the micro credit scheme, which is part of the Additional Prihatin SME Economic Stimulus Package (PRIHATIN Plus), despite having their applications green-lit weeks ago.

The RM10 billion (US$2.3 billion) PRIHATIN Plus package was announced earlier in April as a way to ease the financial burden of the SMEs and to ensure that at least two-thirds of the nation’s workforce remain employed.

Under said package, the soft loan scheme for micro enterprises was extended to TEKUN Nasional with a maximum loan limit of RM10,000 for each enterprise. The interest-free loan scheme involved an additional allocation of RM200 million on top of the RM500 million already provided via Bank Simpanan Nasional’s micro credit scheme.

In addition to this, the government has made the decision to expand on the wage subsidy programme that has been previously announced. Previously offering RM7.9 billion, the programme now offers up to RM13.8 billion in wage subsidies. A new grant was also announced, titled Special Prihatin Grant amounting to RM2.1 billion that is intended to benefit up to 700,000 micro enterprises.


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