Smaller firms may start to collapse in May, says chamber

The Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce says SMEs need comprehensive support through tax cuts, interest rates and loan facilities to prevent their collapse.

PETALING JAYA: Closure of companies, laying off workers and job losses will probably start happening in May in view of the national shutdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Malaysia-China Chamber of Commerce said today.

It said the government must prepare itself to face this potential problem now and put in place effective measures to prevent the collapse of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which will give rise to a wide range of problems.

“MCCC feels local governments could also provide assistance to various trades and industries,” it said in a statement today.

MCCC said it was urgent for Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to give clear instructions and for local governments to take the initiative to help the SMEs cope with the difficulties and join hands to tide over the hard times.

“MCCC calls on the government to set up a special task force to co-ordinate the work of various departments and focus on supporting the continued operation of SMEs.”

It pointed out that according to the data from the entrepreneur development and cooperatives ministry, about 90% of enterprises in Malaysia are SMEs.

“All parties must attach importance to this lifeline and support it so that the future national economy is well sustained.”

MCCC called on the government to pay heed to the financial problems faced by SMEs, especially cash flow problems.

It wanted the government to provide comprehensive support through tax cuts, interest rates and loan facilities to prevent their collapse and protect the employment opportunities of the people.

It suggested that the government direct assistance to the SMEs during the movement control order (MCO) by helping them pay at least 25% of their employees’ salaries.

A quick survey it conducted showed SMEs need more government assistance to survive the financial difficulties.

“The survey reflected that downsizing is one of their considerations now. Some may even close their businesses.”

MCCC praised the government’s RM250 billion economic stimulus package announced yesterday to ease the people’s woes but hopes the government will also step up efforts to help SMEs overcome their difficulties.