Image credit: Yahoo News Malaysia

SME Association of Malaysia president Datuk Michael Kang said employers are facing unprecedented challenges and the number of lay-offs could hit two million by year-end if government aid is not forthcoming.

By then, more than 20% of small and medium enterprises (SME) would have been closed down, he added.

Kang said SMEs are facing greater pressure now than during the movement control order (MCO) period earlier this year when they still had some cash in hand.

Now, he lamented, they do not have any more money but still have to pay workers’ salaries, rent and service loans, among others.

Kang told China Press this when asked to comment on Malaysian Employers Federation executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan’s recent remark that employers are bracing for greater challenges next year in the wake of the third wave of Covid-19 pandemic and enforcement of the conditional MCO in the Klang Valley and Sabah.

“The situation next year will be worse. I have always stressed that this year is survival year. (There is) no need to talk about next year if we can’t survive this year,” he said.

He advised SMEs to “save themselves” through transformation while waiting for government assistance.

Of course, it would be faster and much easier to achieve transformation with government assistance, he added.

Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin recently announcement that more than 800,000 Malaysians have lost their jobs due to the pandemic.