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PETALING JAYA: The RM35bil stimulus is further proof of the government’s determination to navigate the country towards a path of accelerated economic recovery, said Senior Minister Datuk Seri Azmin Ali.

In welcoming the economic recovery plan (Penjana), Azmin said the government recognises that there remain challenges for businesses to restart their operations during this difficult period.

“In the engagements undertaken by the International Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti), challenges that were highlighted by the trade and industry associations, professional bodies as well as small and medium enterprises (SMEs) include cash flow constraints, movement restrictions and supply chain disruption,” he said in a statement yesterday.

The extension of the three-month wage subsidy programme, totalling RM5bil, will secure the protection of employment of the people, he said.

“Amounting to RM600 per worker, it will also continue to help the industry and SMEs cope with cash flow constraints.

“The introduction of the previous subsidies in the earlier packages had been well received by workers and employers, having saved more than 2.2 million jobs,” he added.

He said with almost all of the industries fully opened, more than 12 million workers have returned to work.

“In view of the earlier success, the extension of this programme will continue to provide relief for workers.

“Workers in sectors that are hardest hit as a result of the pandemic, such as tourism, are likely to gain from this wage subsidy programme.

“Similarly, by announcing an incentive that ranges between RM600 and RM1,000 for employers who offer job opportunities to the unemployed and industry trainees, the government has ensured that the right benefits trickle down to these segments of the society as well,” he said.

In a move to encourage more workers to work from home, Azmin said the government had also announced tax breaks for the purchase of ICT equipment.

“Miti views this as a crucial intervention by the government in efforts to advance towards a digital economy. This incentive will support the private sector to remain productive and vibrant even while working from home.

“This will enhance the use of technology in the work process and help realise the government’s aspiration towards fostering a digital culture in our economy,” he added.

The economic recovery plan, said Azmin, also offers numerous advantages for key economic movers in the country, including SMEs, mid-tier companies, social enterprises and start-ups.

“It is evident that the government is keen to respond promptly to the needs of these entities.

“This move will inject new dynamism in the SME sector, which constitutes the largest job creator in the economy.

“This sector should also undergo a paradigm change via the use of technology and innovation, including digitalisation, for greater efficiency and productivity,” he noted.

He also praised other assistance such as the special financial aid totalling RM500mil to be provided through PUNB and Mara and the RM10mil matching grant allocated for social enterprises.

“The new tax incentive scheme in Penjana is expected to attract more investments and bring better high technology employment opportunities.”

Among others, a full 10-year tax exemption will be granted for new investments in fixed assets valued between RM300mil and RM500mil, he said.

He said the tax incentives would provide the much needed shot-in-the-arm for investment and job creation.

“Miti is confident that these incentives will boost both local and foreign direct investment as well as attract multinational companies to reshore their operations to Malaysia.

“We are also confident that this latest recovery plan, together with the easing of the movement restrictions, will provide the necessary impetus to further jumpstart and revitalise the economy and ensure that we remain on the right path to full recovery,” noted Azmin.