Press Statement By Violet Yong:
During MCO, both the Federal Government and State Government have announced and introduced few types of free interest loan assistance packages targeted to help the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) which have been affected by the Covid-19 Pandemic, specifically:-
- (1) 0% Micro-i Kredit Perihatin with a Maximum Borrowing of RM75,000.00 under Bank Simpanan Nasional; and
- (2) Interest Free Soft Loan Scheme under Bantuan Sarawakku Sayang (BKSS).
I have received feedbacks from many SMEs which have applied for either one or both of the interest free loan schemes are greatly disappointed that the loan sums are still not make available to them until todate despite approval had been granted from banks and Letters of Offer were signed.
In view that most of the SMEs did not benefit from these free interest loan schemes and thus feeling helpless over the matter because they could not get any answers or replies from the banks, it cannot stop the SMEs from questioning whether all these interest free loans announced by the government are for real or just for empty talk only.
Bearing in mind, there are close to 40 % of the SMEs which are unable to sustain more than two months of lost of income and hence, they hope that the government could address their need immediately.
These SMEs are not asking for free aid from the government but borrowings of fund to get them through during this difficult period.
Given the uncertainties of the whole matter and most SMEs are in desperate need for the loan sum to cushion the financial impact of Covid-19, it is pertinent that the government be truthful and transparent by making known to the public as to:-
- a) Whether these loans are still available and intake for those who have signed the letter of offer?
- b) When can the loan amount be disbursed to the SMEs?
- c) What cause the delay in disbursing the loan sums to the respective SMEs who had successfully applied for the loan?
- d) How many applications have been received, approved and rejected by the respective banks?
- e) What is the total loan sum granted to SMEs up til todate?
- f) Are these free Interest loan schemes still available and open for application?
For sustainability and maintaining the business work force, it is crucial for the Government to waste no time in playing politics by taking advantage over Covid-19 pandemic but ensuring whatever measures that had been promised and announced to help the SMEs which form two-thirds of workforce in the country and contribute almost 40 percent to the GDP are being materialised and implemented. Based on records, Sarawak has 40,000 SMEs and make up over 75% of the state’s business sector.
In the meantime, it is hoped that the Bank Negara Malaysia could also come out with a full explanation whether funds are available to offer all these so called “interest free loan” to help the SMEs as many of the SMEs have been informed by the offering banks that there are no fund forthcoming from Bank Negara to implement all these interest free loan schemes.