KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 27 (Bernama) — The 2020 Economic Stimulus Package will assist businesses most adversely affected by COVID-19 to facilitate their cash flow and reduce business costs, Interim Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said.

He said the first action in the agenda is to allow deferment of monthly income tax payments for businesses in the tourism sector from April to September 2020.

Companies affected by COVID-19 will be allowed to revise their profit estimates for 2020 with respect to monthly income tax installment payments without penalty, he added.

Dr Mahathir said this when announcing the 2020 Economic Stimulus Package themed “Bolstering Confidence, Stimulating Growth & Protecting Jobs” in Putrajaya today.

The announcement of the economic stimulus package was the second one for Dr Mahathir after 2003 when he as Malaysia’s fourth Prime Minister tabled an RM8.1 billion economic package to deal with another global health-related crisis, the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). 

The second action to facilitate cash flow of businesses is to provide a 15 per cent discount in monthly electricity bills to hotels, travel agencies, airlines, shopping malls, and convention and exhibition centres.

Thirdly, the government will exempt Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF) levies for hotels and travel related companies during the period.

The fourth action is to exempt the 6.0 per cent service tax for hotels. However, this exemption will be made effective earlier, that is from March to August 2020.

Dr Mahathir said the government will also provide financing facilities for affected companies through Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), Simpanan Nasional (BSN) and Bank Pembangunan, among others.

He said BNM will provide a Special Relief facility worth RM2 billion, particularly in the form of working capital for small medium enterprises (SMEs) at an interest rate of 3.75 per cent.

BSN will allocate a RM200 million microcredit facility offering an interest rate of 4.0 per cent to affected businesses, while the approval process for existing loan funds such as Bank Pembangunan’s Tourism Infrastructure Fund of RM1.5 billion will be further streamlined

All banks are required to provide financial relief in the form of payment moratorium, comprising restructuring and rescheduling loans for affected businesses and individuals, he said, adding that BNM is tasked with ensuring that all financial institutions will assist all companies in need without exception. 

In the spirit of shared responsibility to overcome current challenges, Dr Mahathir said the government calls on industry players to play their part – for hotels to offer discounts and shopping malls to reduce rentals to their tenants.

“Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad (MAHB) will provide rebates on rental for premises at the airport as well as landing and parking charges,” he said.


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