KUALA LUMPUR: The Federation of Chinese Associations Malaysia (Huazong) has urged the special cabinet committee established on Thursday to quickly come out with prudent-yet-practical measures to better assist the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to stay afloat amidst the Covid-19 crisis.

Its president, Tan Sri T.C Goh said the setting up of the said special cabinet committee to specially focus on the plights of the SMEs was a timely and necessary move. He added that this is also in line with Huazong’S call made on 29 March, two days after the announcement of the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package by the government, to better address the pressing issues facing the SMEs.

“Huazong had earlier gathered feedback from our member associations and the business sector and proposed the government to quickly set up a special cabinet committee to quickly roll out an effective ‘SMEs stimulus package’ and to incorporate it into the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package. This is in order to prevent the business sector from collapsing, in case the Movement Control Order (MCO) is to be further extended in the event of a worsening pandemic,” he noted in a press release issued today.

He said this while welcoming the setting up of the special cabinet committee announced by the prime minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on Wednesday, to better address the criticisms from the business sector over the shortcomings in the Prihatin Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package.

In view of the critical situation facing the business sector, Huazong had on 30 March submitted a memorandum to the prime minister and the relevant ministries after gathering feedback from the business sector, and on 31 March submitted a ‘supplementary memorandum’ to better reflect on the dire situation that the business sector is facing, and appealing for a serious and urgent attention by the government. The government immediately responded by assuring that the cabinet will be discussing the various issues affecting the SMEs soon, Goh noted.

He was thus hopeful that the special cabinet committee co-chaired by two Senior Ministers: International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali and Defence Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob, could better resolve the pressing problems facing the business sector, the SMEs in particular, and the labour force.

He was also glad to note that relevant ministries and government agencies who are involved in the economic sector have started to engage leaders and representatives of the business sector and civil society organizations (CSOs), Huazong included, to provide their views and proposals on how to better deal with the dire economic situation inflicted by the pandemic.

“We in Huazong will continue to gather feedback from the masses, the business community included, on the economic impact of the pandemic, and will present the necessary views and proposals to the government,” he pledged.

Goh added that besides the economic sector, currently Huazong through its member associations is also gathering feedback from other sectors, in regards to the impact of the pandemic and the ongoing MCO, and will submit reports to the relevant ministries and government agencies.

He also underscored that the government must closely monitor the inevitable ‘chain reactions’ arising from the pandemic and the MCO, and their impacts on various sectors.-pr/BNN