The government had channelled RM20.147 billion to 357,429 employers through its wage subsidy programme (PSU) helping to keep 2,951,854 jobs during what was the worst period in Malaysia’s history, the Covid-19 lockdowns.
Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Tengku and the cabinet who developed the programs, said for PSU 1.0, 322,177 employers and 2.64 million workers had received benefits under the PRIHATIN Economic Stimulus Package and the Short-Term Economic Recovery Plan (PENJANA), whereby wage subsidy applications reached RM12.956 billion.
“Subsidy of up to RM1,200 a month was extended for three months under the PENJANA package and overall subsidy given to employers was for six months,” he said.
According to Tengku Zafrul, for PSU 2.0, the wage subsidy was extended for three months for existing employers, that is those who had received PSU, while a six-month extension was given to all applicants.
“Up to Jan 2022, a total of RM1.405 billion had been channelled to 81,080 employers for them to maintain the salaries of 716,885 workers,”.
The government had extended PSU 3.0 for another three months with a more targeted aid, such as the tourism and retail sectors, with a payment of RM600 a month for those earning RM4,000 and below.
“Up to Jan, 2022 a total of RM3.612 billion had been distributed to maintain the salaries of 1,521,767 workers. PSU 3.0 was also complemented and improved through aid packages such as PERMAI, PEMERKASA and PEMERKASA+,” he added.
Keeping a tab on those who direly need such assistance, the government, through SOCSO, have committed to continue with the implementation of PSU which will be more targeted towards the tourism sector as enterprises in the sector have suffered at least a 30 per cent drop in income.
The allocation for this aid has been set at RM600 million under Budget 2022.
Meanwhile, the government has also allocated RM600 million for micro, small and medium enterprises that are still affected by the pandemic. “Up to Jan 14, 730 applications had been made, of this 376 were approved involving financing worth RM75.5 million,” the minister said.
Under PENJANA, the government also allocated RM700 million to help SMEs and mid-level companies embark on their digitalisation process.
“Up to Dec 31, a sum of RM90 million had been channelled to 13,889 businesses in the form of grants and loans for their subscriber digitalisation services,” he said.