IT is human nature after all that we are never satisfied with what we have in life. We tend to bargain for more even as we know the pie can no longer be cut to smaller slices or there may not even be smaller slices to be dished out.
Therefore, it will be interesting to see if the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers’ (FMM) gets away with its 10 additional demands/wishes – which are aimed at boosting the manufacturing sector’s resilience – on top of what has been dished out yesterday via the RM20 bil PEMERKASA stimulus package.
“In particular, the industry lauds the following initiatives which include several new and enhancement/extension of the existing initiatives/incentives, some of which were part of FMM’s most recent wish list submitted to the Finance Ministry (MOF) and Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) which have a direct impact on business sustainability,” requested its president Tan Sri Soh Thian Lai.
Well, as the saying goes, there is no harm for FMM to try its luck; it will be a huge success for the manufacturing body even if the Government were to fulfil one or two out of the following 10 demands:
- Continuation of the targeted loan moratorium assistance;
- Further extension of the targeted wage subsidy under the Wage Subsidy Programme 3.0 which has been extended to June 2021 with an additional allocation of RM700 mil;
- Enhancement of the SOCSO Penjana Kerjaya 2.0 employment incentives to include short-term employment and gig workers;
- Increase of the Market Development Grant to RM500,000 per company which would support export competitiveness during this critical period;
- Support for technology and digitalisation adoption by small medium enterprises (SMEs) to enhance their operational and manufacturing effectiveness through the additional RM50 mil allocation for the Smart Automation Grant; RM50 mil allocation to MITI for the Industry4WRD; RM200 mil under MIDF to finance development of automation, digitalisation and green technology including a reduction in interest rates to 3%; and Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) RM700 Automation and Digitalisation Facility for SMEs;
- Additional financing for SMEs, including the additional RM2 bil Targeted Relief Recovery Facility by BNM; RM200 mil Fund under the SME Bank to support efforts by SMEs in reducing reliance on foreign workers to finance the purchase of machinery with a grant of up to 20% of the value of the machinery; and additional RM500 mil for micro credit financing by the various agencies;
- Introduction of the Safe@Work initiative by MITI to support business continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic period, including the provision of additional tax deduction up to RM50 mil for expenses incurred in relation to worker’s housing and rental of premises by companies that pass the compliance audit of the Safe@Work programme by MITI;
- Additional tax deductions for expenses incurred for the screening of workers up till Dec 31 given that the immunisation programme will only be concluded by early 2022 and thus the risk of infections would still remain;
- Support for sustainability agenda by setting up the MySDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Trust Fund as a platform that allows funding from a variety of sources for SDG-compliant projects; and
- Extension of the effective period of the Temporary Measures for Reducing the Impact of COVID-19 Act 2020 on the inability to perform contractual obligations to June 30, 2021 including expansion of types of contracts that would be covered. – March 18, 2021