No full lockdown, 40pct SMEs already suffering, pleads industry association

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KUALA LUMPUR: The SME Association of Malaysia (SME Malaysia) is pleading for the government to not impose a full lockdown on the economy and seriously look into other ways of expediting its vaccination efforts.

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SME Malaysia national president Datuk Michael Kang said a complete lockdown would have a significant impact on the country’s economic recovery as around 40 per cent of SMEs were already suffering.

Kang said the association had conducted a web dialogue with its members on May 18 and was currently conducting a nationwide survey on the impact of Movement Control Order (MCO) 3.0.

“The initial report indicates that 91 per cent of SMEs expect business revenue to be affected by MCO 3.0, with 37.5 per cent of these companies expecting more than a drop of more than 50 per cent in business performance.

“Should the lockdown continue, 37.7 per cent of SMEs will close down its business operations for good,” he said.

Kang said the survey had also shown that 84.5 per cent of SMEs would be significantly affected by MCO 3.0.

“If the same type of measures that were enacted during MCO 1.0 are exacted in MCO 3.0, more than 40 per cent of SMEs will be in dire financial straits and two million jobs will be lost,” he said.

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According to Kang, 65 per cent of survey respondents stated that a blanket automatic loan moratorium was necessary while 88.5 per cent agreed that business performance would be significantly affected if the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme (NIP) was delayed.

Kang said 50.4 per cent had even stated that they would like there to be a private immunisation program, and were even willing to bear the cost themselves.

“The most important finding was that 95.8 per cent requested that the government allocate more incentives to assist SMEs as quickly as possible,” he said.

Kang strongly urged not to implement a full lockdown as many industries such as tourism, tourism-related, events management, private education, and enrichment centres had been suffering for a long time since the pandemic began in March 2020.

“Should a full lockdown be imposed, it will spell the immediate end for all businesses across the nation,” he added.-NST