Malaysia's Ministry of Finance has released a report on the progress of the PENJANA packages introduced earlier this year, in the country's ongoing battle against COVID-19.

The report, known as the 23rd report by the Economic Stimulus Implementation & Coordination Unit Between National Agencies (LAKSANA), was shared on Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz's Facebook page yesterday (29 September).

The initiative is divided into three goals: 

  1. Empowering people
  2. Business recovery
  3. Economic stimulation

PENJANA goal #1: Empowering the people

First, the Health Care Scheme for the B40 Group (PeKa B40) is a scheme fully funded by the government and regulated by the Ministry of Health, that emphasises the need for the early detection of infectious diseases, especially as they get older. Between 1 July and 18 September 2020, a total of 90,694 claims were received amounting to RM5.92mn.

People in this group who are eligible will be fully funded by the Government to conduct health screening at clinics registered with the scheme.

Eligible applicants will receive four benefits from this scheme, including health screening services.

table 1 peka40

Second, in line with the re-opening of the economy, working parents now have the confidence to send their children to childcare centers. To encourage childcare centres to adopt the new Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) norm, one-off grants worth up to RM5,000 have been distributed to every nursery and kindergarten operator registered under the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development (KPWKM) and the Ministry of Education (KPM).

Incentives to train new babysitters are also provided for childcare and early education courses under KPWKM. As of September 18, 2020, a total of RM18.91mn has been utilised by almost 12,000 nurseries and kindergartens for this purpose.

Next, when the Movement Control Order was first implemented on 18 March 2020, the challenge was especially in ensuring that employers could retain their employees. "In this regard, the Government has fought for comprehensive initiatives in ensuring the issue of unemployment does not increase dramatically," Minister Zafrul noted.

Among the relevant initiatives are:

First, the Wage Subsidy Programme has been extended for an additional three months (July, August and September) under the PENJANA package, and will be extended for between three to six months (for existing and new applicants) under the Kita Prihatin package. As of 18 September 2020, a total of RM11.93bn worth of subsidies have been approved, benefiting more than 2.6mn workers.

table 2 wage subsidy

However, the Minister highlighted that the Government has been alerted that a sum of less than RM500,000 in wage subsidy, which should have been paid to employees, had been taken by employers. "I would like to emphasise that the Government will not hesitate to take action against employers who commit this offence," he stressed.

Separately, a total of RM1.5bn has been allocated for employer recruitment promotion programmes thus far, through which a total of 38,186 employees (an increase from 33,688 last week) have found employment.

This number includes 29,575 people under the age of 40, 4,829 people aged between 40 - 60 years, 270 disabled and 3,512 apprentices.

table 3

The third, involves the Skills and Skills Enhancement Programmes. Several Ministries and agencies have coordinated the reskilling programme to meet the needs of the industry. This programme aims to introduce and train new skills to the participants.

Participating ministries and agencies:

table 4

PENJANA goal #2: Business recovery 

As SMEs play an important role as drivers of national economic growth, the PENJANA initiative emphasises specific strategies to support SMEs through increased access to finances, to increase their capabilities and capacity.

One aspect of this is through the TEKUN Business Recovery Scheme, which helps to maintain the cash flow of micro SMEs so they remain sustainable without needing to resort to layoffs. As of 18 September 2020, a total of RM73.6mn has been channelled through to and utilised by 11,059 micro SMEs.

Second, as part of the PENJANA package for SMEs, as of September 18, 2020, a total of RM55.31mn has been channelled and utilised by 1,480 SMEs and micro-SMEs.

Third, in financing of PENJANA package for SMEs, the government has allocated funds amounting to RM2bn, with priority given to SMEs who have never received a loan from a bank before.

To ensure the survival of Bumiputera entrepreneurs, the government also provides a Bumiputera financing programme amounting to RM500mn to be channelled through the following two agencies, namely:

First, is through Perbadanan Usahawan Nasional. The eligibility criteria focuses on the use of funds for working capital; operating expenses; system automation; as well as equipment and expenses to implement soups such as physical imprisonment practices and the use of personal protective equipment, financing facilities range from RM100,000 to RM1mn for a period of up to five years, at an interest rate of 3.5% per annum, with a moratorium of up to six months from the date of issue.

Up till 18 September 2020, a total of RM16.22mn has been channelled and utilised 41 Bumiputera businesses.

Secondly, is through Majlis Amanah Rakyat, in the form of working capital loans to assist affected Bumiputera entrepreneurs, including the private education sector with a maximum loan amount of RM1mn. The comes with an interest rate of 3.5% per annum. 

PENJANA goal #3: Economic stimulation

First, as of 18 September 2020,, 11.15mn million people have successfully received RM50 in their e-wallets with a total value of RM557.46mn. Recipients are reminded that the credit in this e-wallet must be used before 30 September 2020. after that date the credit value will expire from the e-wallet user account.

Secondly, in providing support for the arts, culture and entertainment sector, among the allocation provided is a total of RM10mn in the form of loans with interest rates of 3.5%, and RM30mn grants for the creative industry, events and exhibitions under MyCreative Venture; while RM10mn has been allocated under CENDANA.

As of 18 September 2020, a total of 46 applications have been received for MyCreative Venture, worth RM34.2mn. For the CENDANA initiative, a total of 120 applications worth RM439,120 have been approved. 

View Tengku Zafrul's post here:

Lead image / graphics / Tengku Zafrul's Facebook page

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