Through the newly-announced PSU 4.0 initiative, the Government will accommodate up to 500 employees per employer at a rate of RM600 per employee for a period of four months.

On 28 June, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin unveiled a fresh economic stimulus package worth RM150bn, called the People's Protection and Economic Recovery Package, or PEMULIH, that aims to help the nation better cope with the pandemic on three fronts: one, support for businesses; two, individual and household finance support; and three, vaccination support.

Read on for the summary of the major aspects of the package that will impact businesses (including SMEs and MSMEs), unemployed job seekers, incentives for employers looking to transition to the local workforce, disabled workers, and more.

Support for businesses and employers

#1: Special caring grants for MSMEs

The first of Pemulih’s three-pronged approach is to provide financial assistance through special caring grants (Geran Khas Prihatin, or GKP) 4.0. Under GKP 4.0, eligible recipients are to receive assistance of RM500 in September, and another RM500 in November.

This is a continuation of the series of GKP (1.0 to 3.0) that is worth a total of RM5.08bn.

PM Muhiyiddin highlighted that for micro-entrepreneurs who have yet to receive this assistance, “registration will begin to open in mid -July.”

#2: PSU 4.0 (wage subsidies)

GKP isn’t the only initiative extended in PEMULIH, but also the Wage Subsidy Scheme (PSU).

“The government has agreed to implement PSU 4.0 with an allocation of RM3.8bn which is expected to benefit more than 2.5mn workers,” shared the Prime Minister.

In the latest PSU 4.0, there are two segments to note:

  • No salary cap: Employers can apply for PSU 4.0 for their employees who earn more than RM4000.
  • Wage subsidy: The government will accommodate up to 500 employees per employer at a rate of RM600 per employee for a period of four months. He explained: “Two months for all sectors in Phase Two of the National Recovery Plan, and the next two months specifically for sectors in the negative list (i.e. not allowed to operate) during the Phase Three.”

#3: Levy exemption for employers

In addition to the aforementioned, employers in the following groups will be exempted from HRD Corp levy:

  • Employers who are unable to operate during PKP will automatically be exempted for a period of two months.
  • Employers from the new sectors covered under the Human Resources Corporation Berhad Act 2001 will be exempted until 31 December 2021.

According to PM Muhiyiddin, this initiative is estimated to be worth RM425mn.

#4: Career Generator Programme for 'Malaysianisation' of the workforce

“Next, I would like to touch on job creation, training offerings and increasing employee income,” PM Muhyiddin said. Here, he mentioned about SOCSO’s Career Generator programme, which is slated to cease at the end of June.

According to the Prime Minister, the Government has agreed to extend the programme, branding it as Career Generator 3.0. This version will:

  • Reduce the salary eligibility limit from RM1,500 to RM1,200 under the 'Malaysianisation' programme, which seeks to push for local employment
  • Relax the employment contract period from 12 months to six months for employees aged 50 and above, the disabled, and ex-prisoners.

He hopes that with such initiatives in place, it will offer employers more incentive to replace foreign workers with local workers.

#5: Digitisation support for micro-SMEs and SMEs

In his speech, PM Muhyiddin also announced how the government is helping micro-SMEs (PMKS) and SMEs (PKS), especially with the future of business.

Under the newly established Small Entrepreneur Digitisation Empowerment Programme (or PUPUK), which supports business digitisation and encourages cashless transactions, the government has agreed to allocate RM200mn for micro-SMEs and RM100mn for SMEs.

Support for individuals and households

#6: Individual and household finance support

The second of Pemulih’s three-pronged approach is to provide cash assistance to all Malaysians until the end of the year. This support, called Special Assistance COVID-19 (Bantuan Khas COVID-19 or BKC), amounts to RM10bn – and it will assist three categories of Malaysians.

Those individuals or households below Malaysia’s poverty line (“hardcore poor”)

In this category, households will receive assistance of RM500 in August, RM500 in November, and RM300 in December. While single individuals will receive assistance of RM200 in August and RM300 in November

Those individuals or households in B40 category

For B40s, households will receive assistance of RM500 in August and RM300 in December. While single individuals will receive assistance of RM200 in August.

Those individuals or households in M40 category

As for M40s, in August, households will receive assistance of RM250, while singles will receive assistance of RM100.

PM Muhyiddin said: “In total, this special BKC grant is expected to benefit more than 11mn households and individuals of the elderly as well as singles with an allocation of RM4.6bn.”

Previously, under Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (ACA) programme, announced in the last PEMERKASA+ package, the government had agreed to provide an additional payment for ACA of up to RM500 in July which the payment will be made in stages starting today (29 June).

It was also mentioned that the third phase of ACA, with an assistance rate of between RM100 to RM1,400, will be paid in September, which “in total, the value of the ACA until the end of the year was RM4.9bn”, reiterated by the Prime Minister in his speech.

#7 Income loss assistance for the unemployed

Beyond individuals and households, the government will also be supporting those who are unemployed, or who lost their jobs. Called, the ‘Income Loss Assistance’ programme, a total of RM500 will be channelled to employees who lose their income based on 2021 Employees' Provident Fund (EPF) or SOCSO (PERKESO, or Pertubuhan Keselamatan Sosial) data in October 2021.

According to PM Muhyiddin, this assistance, worth up to RM500mn, is expected to benefit up to 1mn affected Malaysians.

“With these three cash grants, for each month from June to December this year, those in need will receive the appropriate assistance. I hope this cash assistance can help you to continue to survive in the coming months, God willing,” said the Prime Minister.

#8 Support for job-seekers via allowance and place-and-train programme

Apart from the above, PM Muhyiddin also shared that the government will help job-seekers. This will be done in two ways.

  • Firstly, extending the Job-Seeking Allowance (Elaun Mencari Pekerjaan) to non-SOCSO contributors, especially new graduates, school leavers and informal sector workers. “Those who fall under this category can register under the MYFutureJobs platform and will receive an allowance of at least RM300,” he highlighted.
  • Secondly, the government will allocate RM125mn through HRD Corp to implement the ‘Place and Train’ initiative. This is part of the country’s Janapreneur program, mainly benefitting school leavers and graduates. This initiative is expected to open up career opportunities for 30,000 Malaysians to follow a skills training programme and secure employment upon completion.

Other than that, “MDEC will improve the existing programmes, namely eRezeki and GLOW to help more than 20,000 job seekers in the gig economy,” shared the Prime Minister.

#9 Allowance and networking programme for the disabled who are unemployed

The last group that the government will extend its support to is the disabled (OKU) who have lost their jobs or unemployment, and are not recipients of the existing Disabled Workers Allowance.

As part of PEMULIH, the government has agreed to provide financial assistance of RM500 per person for a period of three months.

PM Muhiyiddin said: “For that, RM30mn is allocated to benefit a total of 20,000 people with disabilities.”

Further to that, the government will also implement the General Initiative Networking Programme (Program Jaringan Inisiatif Umum, or JITU) for the purpose of providing basic business capital assistance and guiding the disabled and homeless in business.

“A total of RM20mn is allocated for this purpose and is expected to benefit more than 40,000 individuals,” he continued.

Vaccination support

Touching on the topic of vaccination, PM Muhyiddin said that the government aims “to increase capacity and expedite the provision of vaccines to the people” under the National COVID-19 Immunisation Program (PICK).

The Prime Minister said that the last of Pemulih’s three-pronged approach will be done in two ways:

#10 Increase the supply and outreach of vaccines

Increase the number of vaccination centres (PPV)

To tackle the first agenda, PM Muhiyiddin shared that a total of RM400mn is allocated to increase the country's vaccine supply. “This means that the total supply of vaccines ordered by the Government is enough to cover 130% of the population compared to 120% previously,” he shared.

With regard to the second agenda, he continued that the government has agreed to open 29 new PPVs, upgrade existing PPVs, implement drive-through PPVs, mobile PPVs and home-to-home outreach programs.

To date, Malaysia has a total of 341 PPVs nationwide, comprising 320 Public PPV, 13 Mega PPV and eight IPT PPV.

This initiative, meanwhile, takes up RM200mn of the government’s reserves.

Support for those who want to get vaccinated

To ensure that the vulnerable are not exempted from getting vaccinated, several programmes at the community level will also be expedited. Among them, registration for vaccination as well as subsidy of up to RM30 on the cost of taxi fares and e-hailing for the disabled and the elderly to facilitate the movement to get vaccinated on the day of their appointment.

The total value of this third focus (i.e. supply and outreach of vaccines) is RM1bn.

#11: PIKAS to boost employer participation

In a separate topic about PIKAS, PM Muhiyiddin said that the government is allocating RM150mn to boost companies and industries’ participation.

Under this initiative, among others, employers, registered under HRD Corp (or Perbadanan Sumber Manusia Berhad), could:

  • Use the remaining current levy of up to 10% for the cost of management and purchase of COVID-19 vaccine;
  • Apply for tax deductions on expenses for PPV equipment and services

“The government is willing to consider grant permission to the company to operate at full capacity if all employees have completed two doses of vaccine,” he highlighted.

He then concluded the speech by reiterating the government’s commitment to steer Malaysia out of the pandemic, and recover as quickly as possible. “Despite being tested in every aspect, the Government pledges to continue to provide the best service for all of you.”

Photo / PM Muhyiddin's Facebook

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