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Permai assistance package can boost GDP growth, sustain SMEs, say economists

Permai assistance package can boost GDP growth, sustain SMEs, say economists

18 Jan 2021

The government’s RM15 billion PERMAI assistance package announced today will help to alleviate the impact of Covid-19 resurgence and latest Movement Control Order (MCO 2.0) restrictions on the first-quarter gross domestic product (GDP) growth while supporting the recovery from the second quarter onwards, economists said.

Sunway University Business School economist Prof Dr Yeah Kim Leng said the PERMAI assistance package is a welcomed relief, especially for low income households and affected businesses particularly the small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Concurring with him was Datuk Michael Kang, president of the SME Association of Malaysia, who said the announcement is timely as the assistance could help sustain the businesses at least for a short term.

“The extension of the (loan) moratorium announced today will be able to help the SMEs. At least, they have one thing less to worry about.

“However, we are worried if the MCO 2.0 will be extended as we are still having four-digit daily new cases,” he told Bernama when commenting on the government’s RM15 billion Malaysian Economic and Rakyat’s Protection Assistance Package (PERMAI).

Comprising 22 initiatives to combat Covid-19, the package is anchored on three goals, namely battling the pandemic, preserving the welfare of the people and supporting the continuity of business.

Among the assistance announced today are that the targeted loan repayment moratorium and reduction of repayment instalments will continue to be offered by banks during the implementation of the MCO 2.0.

However, Kang expressed hope that the rest of the SMEs could resume operations come Feb 1, while adhering to the standard operating procedures.

“If (MCO is) extended, we do need more assistance, especially for those who will lose their jobs and those whose businesses have collapsed,” he stressed.

“The assistance should be sufficient enough for the time being but the government should not extend (MCO) anymore after the end of the month,” he added. 

Source: Bernama