KKMM, MDEC Welcome US$57.7bil Economic Stimulus Package
By Digital News Asia March 29, 2020
- US$1.04bil in collaboration with BNM covering five key initiatives
- US$115.5mil micro-SMEs scheme including creative industry & online traders
The Ministry of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia (KKMM) and its agency Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) welcomes the people-centric Economic Stimulus Package (PRIHATIN) announced by Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on 27 March, amounting US$57.7 billion (RM250 billion) to help alleviate people and businesses, especially the small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) whose source of income had been affected by the COVID-19 virus outbreak.
In line with the theme “No one will be left behind”, the Government is also focusing on the development of the multimedia and telecommunications industry as well as the digital economy as a whole with the US$138.6 million (RM600 million) allocation of free internet service will be introduced in collaboration with the telecommunications companies.
The Minister of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia (KKMM), Saifuddin Abdullah believes that the package would help the telecommunications and multimedia industry as a whole. An additional RM400 million to increase network coverage and capacity to maintain high availability and quality of telecommunications and multimedia networks will assist in the development of the country’s digital economy.
[RM1 = US$0.23]
Saifuddin says the package is in line with the call by the KKMM to enable micro-enterprises and SMEs to switch to digital platforms to ensure business continuity during the Movement Control Order (MCO) as a result of the Covid-19 virus outbreak.
“This is based on the expectation that the digital economy will continue to be one of the largest contributors to the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
In this regard, the KKMM together with MDEC will continue to enhance the efforts to enable the Malaysian business community to tap into digital technologies, assist them to discover new markets, enable cashless transactions and virtual marketing,” Saifuddin says.
He added that the aid for SMEs including micro-entrepreneurs with additional funds of RM4.5 billion in collaboration with Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) covering five key initiatives would also be of a great benefit as currently, while more than 86 percent of the nation’s 907,065 SMEs already use some form of computerisation, the level of digital adoption in their business operations is still low, as noted by SME Corp of Malaysia in 2019.
[Ed: Paragraph edited for accuracy.]
Meanwhile, Surina Shukri, MDEC Chief Executive Officer, said the third thrust, which provides RM500 million worth of grants under the Micro Credit Scheme to help micro-entrepreneurs, including the creative industry and online traders, will further accelerate growth in both sectors, as the sectors are also MDEC's main focused areas.
She also welcomes the RM500 one-off assistance to 120,000 e-hailing drivers with an allocation of RM60 million, which will provide more opportunities for workers in the Gig Economy, who are now feeling the economic impact on their income.
"This announcement is also in line with the #DigitalvsCovid Movement launched by MDEC to continue to help local digital economy players through various initiatives to lessen their socio-economic impact due to the spread of the virus," she said.
MDEC has also provided a list of e-services, e-learning and e-businesses for the convenience of the people to gain information and benefits from the digital ecosystem in Malaysia, especially during this challenging MCO period.
MDEC has launched a campaign to raise awareness and mitigate against the spread of the Covid-19 threat with a series of short videos across its social media channels that encourage a digital approach to combat Covid-19.