KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 9 — SME Association of Malaysia (SME Malaysia) is urging the government to focus on measures to ease the cash flow of pandemic-hit small and medium enterprises (SMEs) when tabling the upcoming Budget 2022.

SME Malaysia president Datuk Michael Kang Hua Keong said businesses are not looking for profit but more for cash flow or survival especially in sectors severely hit by the pandemic such as tourism, film industry, entertainment venues, sports, as well as private education and enrich centres.

“Under Budget 2022, the government should provide tax-free incentives for entrepreneurs, reduce SME tax to 10 per cent from 17 per cent, and reduce the corporate tax rate for the first RM1 million taxable income,” he told Bernama.

Kang believes that 2022 will be a recovery year and an endemic year, therefore, SMEs need full support from the government to rebuild and recover from the impacts of COVID-19.

“Malaysian SMEs are facing severe cash flow problems and they are awaiting government aid. Moreover, digital transformation has become even more important for small businesses since the COVID-19 outbreak.

“As businesses look to adjust to the rapidly changing environment, they need support from the government on the way to go forward with digitalisation,” he said, adding that manpower would also be a key factor for SMEs to lead the transformation.

Kang said the government needs to provide as many incentives and grants for SMEs, especially on digitalisation to generate more jobs in the country.

“The association expects to see a lot of incentives from the government for the digital economy as well as tax deductions on all expenditures,” he said.

If SMEs stay afloat, he said the government should consider giving training grants and special incentives on green, innovation and automation to revive incomes.

“These combinations would attract more foreign and retail local investors. 

“The association is looking at 45 per cent SME contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025,” Kang said.

SME contribution to GDP eased 38.2 per cent in 2020, with a value-added of RM512. 8 billion, compared with 38.9 per cent (value-added: RM553.5 billion) in the preceding year, according to the Department of Statistics Malaysia.

Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said recently that the budget will give attention and assistance to all sectors including the most badly affected sectors, which are tourism, retail and SME.

Budget 2022 will be tabled in Parliament on Oct 29, 2021.


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