Image credit: Borneo Post Online

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 15 — The Semarak Niaga programme with a value of RM40 billion is provided to restore the capability and ensure the viability of the business sector, particularly during the post-pandemic period, said Finance Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz

“What is important is holistic government support, where all levels of entrepreneurs and businesses are supported, from the micro level to companies listed on Bursa Malaysia,” he said during an interview with Astro Awani under the theme “Keluarga Malaysia Economic Resilience” here today.

“The government is also aware of the importance of supporting micro-businesses, especially to help them recover after the pandemic.”

The RM40 billion breakdown includes RM1.8 billion microcredit through agencies such as BSN, Tekun, Agrobank, Bank Rakyat and Bank Negara Malaysia (through commercial banks).

The measures include Equity/alternative financing (RM2.2 billion), SME Soft Loan (RM14.2 billion) and Syarikat Jaminan Pembiayaan Perniagaan (SJPP) guarantees (RM22 billion including a special Bumiputera allocation of RM2 billion).

One of the features specially negotiated by the Finance Ministry when drafting the measures for Semarak Niaga is the moratorium feature, where borrowers can get a moratorium of at least six months (up to 12 months under Tekun).

The loan rate is zero per cent, eventhough not for the entire period, at least they can get zero per cent for six months.

Apart from that, cooperatives also benefit from Semarak Niaga through the Cooperative Movement Economic Transformation Programme (Transfer) (RM10 million), Cooperative Economic Recovery Intervention financing programme (RM30 million) and Preparation of food truck business sites in urban areas (RM1.75 million), he said.

As for the tourism sector, he said the government is also aware that when the borders are reopened, we need capacity that has already been developed to maximise revenue potential in the sector.

So, to rebuild the tourism sector, the government has allocated RM1.6 billion in Budget 2022. This includes wage subsidies to industry players that will benefit 330,000 workers and involve an allocation of RM600 million; also RM600 million under Penjana Tourism Financing and Special Assistance to more than 20,000 tourism operators registered under Motac for a period of three months with an allocation of RM85 million. Special individual income tax relief for domestic tourism expenditure up to RM1,000 is also extended until the year of assessment 2022.

Tengku Zafrul also stressed that the Finance Ministry will always be responsive to the needs of the people and businesses in taking steps that will accelerate their respective recovery efforts.

There are various initiatives in Semarak Niaga under Budget 2022 that can be utilised and it can be browsed at