By Joan S. Santanasamy and Rosemarie Khoo Mohd Sani
KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 27 (Bernama) — The Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) has expressed relief over the government’s move to enhance the Working Capital Guarantee, where an additional allocation of RM2 billion would be given for non-service sectors.
“The scheme will help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) gain access to finance and maintain their operations under current economic constraints,” FMM Chief Executive Officer Dr Yeoh Oon Tean told Bernama.
It was one of the measures outlined by Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak recently to protect Malaysia’s “real economy” in order to restore business confidence and cushion the impact of global economic uncertainty.
The additional funding on top of the existing RM5 billion guarantee for the services sector was announced by the prime minister after chairing the Special Economic Committee meeting in Putrajaya.
Yeoh said the additional funding for SMEs under the scheme as well as restructuring and rescheduling of loans would help improve their cash flow.
He said Malaysia’s current economic conditions were far better than during the 1997/1998 Asian financial crisis.
“The emphasis on the well-being of the real economy, especially manufacturing, is spot on,” he said.
Lauding the government’s decision to continue the Domestic Investment Strategic Fund with an additional funding of RM1 billion, he said this would help accelerate the transition of domestic manufacturers into high value-added, high-technology, knowledge-intensive and innovation-based SMEs.
“SMEs can apply for the fund to carry out research and development activities, meet international standards and acquire new technologies,” he added.
Yeoh said the manufacturing sector, which was part of the real economy, also looked forward to receiving more incentives and support in the 2016 Budget.
In its proposals, he said FMM asked the government to extend the reinvestment allowance, strictly enforce the ‘Buy Made-in-Malaysia’ policy for government procurements, and implement trade facilitation measures to help promote export competitiveness and expansion.
“Other proposals include holding off further increases to the cost of doing business such as the natural gas pricing, the Employment Insurance Scheme, and to review the minimum wage and foreign workers levy,” he said.