SMEs talk of benefitting from Prihatin, Penjana

KUALA LUMPUR (BERNAMA) – Concluding its first year of leading the government on March 1, Malaysia’s Perikatan Nasional (PN) spares no effort to continue to address the quandary faced by vulnerable groups and sectors in countering COVID-19 pandemic, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Since taking the helm in March 2020, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yasin and his Cabinet have introduced containment measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 such as the movement control order (MCO), enforced in four phases from March 18 until May 3, the first ever in the country’s history.

Among the initiatives to alleviate the people’s burden were the MYR4.5 billion Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package (Prihatin), MYR10 billion Prihatin Packages for SMEs (Additional Measures) and the National Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana).

As of February 12, the government has approved 6,731 applications involving an allocation of MYR1.259 billion under the Penjana SME scheme.

Sweetapao Resources owner Norina Mohamed from Puncak Alam, Selangor has benefitted from the Prihatin Special Grant (GKP) 1.0 programme and received MYR3,000 aid last year.

She has been operating a bakery business via online platform since 2017 and the assistance has helped her to grow the business and sustain her cashflow ever since the MCO was implemented last year.

“I used the one-off aid to expand my business by buying baking machinery and equipment to cater to higher needs from the customers,” she said.

Nasi Ayam Baba Restaurant owner Ahmad Shukri bin Abdul Shukor from Malacca has benefitted from PenjanaKerjaya 1.0 whereby five of his employees were engaged under the hiring incentive programme.

He said the employees received three days’ reskilling and upskilling training related to food and beverages industry funded by Social Security Organisation (Socso).

“My employees obtained MYR800 financial incentive for six months and it helped me to sustain my business at two branches in Jalan Hang Tuah and Taman Merdeka,” he said.

Ahmad Shukri plans to open a new branch in Tanjung Minyak in mid-March this year and apply for PenjanaKerjaya 2.0 in hiring new employees, and strengthen the business in the long run.

Ateen Inspire Works Sdn Bhd owner Mohd Muzamir Mahyudin decided to register for the Tekun Business Recovery Scheme (TBRS) under Penjana after COVID-19 hit the country.

His company which sells clothes and skincare products has been operating in Shah Alam, Selangor since October 2016. In April last year, he took a MYR10,000 loan to upgrade the products, such as new packaging and ingredients for skincare.

“Our sales increased 35 per cent from MYR50,000 monthly as we were also utilising e-commerce and media social platform,” he said, adding, the loan helped him to sustain the business amidst the challenging situation during the pandemic.

Overall, the PN government continues its commitment to safeguard the people’s well-being, support businesses and strengthen the country’s economy even under immense pressure from the looming pandemic.