Pemerkasa to have five initiatives to raise Malaysia’s competitiveness

A man watches a live telecast of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin's speech in Kuala Lumpur January 12, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

A man watches a live telecast of Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s speech in Kuala Lumpur January 12, 2020. — Picture by Miera Zulyana

KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 — Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin today announced five initiatives under the Strategic Programme to Empower the People and Economy (Pemerkasa) aimed at making Malaysia’s economy more competitive globally.

Muhyiddin said the initiatives would primarily increase foreign investments, strengthen global trade, boost digital technology adaptation and ensure sustainable growth.

“The 10th initiative is to strengthen the business environment. For that, the government through the Business Facilitation Special Task Force or Pemudah is always committed to make sure agile regulation is implemented to encourage domestic business reinvestment,” he said.

He said this includes the expansion of the Authorised Economic Operator Nasional, which provides a “green route” for companies eligible for export and import business, and shortens the processing period for investment applications.

To help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) get loans, Muhyiddin said Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has increased the allocation for its Targeted Relief and Recovery Facility by RM2 billion, and for the Automation and Digitalisation Facility by RM700 million.

“Under the Malaysian Industrial Development Finance Berhad (MIDF), RM200 million has been allocated for financing schemes for the development of automation, digitalisation and use of green technology.

“MIDF has also agreed to reduce loan interest rates from five per cent to three per cent for a period of 12 months, starting April 1,” he added.

Additionally, RM50 million is allocated for the Smart Automation Grant under the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (Mida), while another RM50 million will go to the Industry4WRD programme under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti).

SME Bank will also prepare RM200 million in credit to develop automation that reduces dependence on foreign workers, which will cover up to 20 per cent of the value of machines bought for this purpose.

Muyhiddin said an additional RM300 subsidy — on top of the RM180 announced in the Prihatin programme — will be given Bantuan Prihatin Negara (BPR) recipients with school children in their families, to buy smartphones and similar devices.

Adding to that, he said commercial 5G internet connections will start operating in phases, by the end of this year.

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) has also been allocated RM3.2 billion for the Universal Service Provision Fund.

MCMC will also launch the MyBaikHati programme which will use crowdsourcing to collect devices such as laptops that can be fixed and distributed to Community Internet Centres and other “community organisations”.

Muhyiddin said foreign investment and international trade was especially important in helping the nation’s economy recover, and to that end, Miti will continue exploring potential new exports, and encourage the use of automation and mechanisation among industry players.

“Among the measures that will be implemented include the eBizLink initiative, a virtual and hybrid digital marketing platform, as well as the Globepreneur initiative aimed at highlighting more SMEs that have the potential to enter the international market.

“The government will also raise the ceiling for the Market Development Grant (MDG) from RM300,000 to RM500,000 per company that participates in international exhibitions,” he said.

He added that a RM50 million grant will be provided for the development of the aerospace and medical device industries.

To support Malaysia in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, Muhyiddin said the government together with United Nations Malaysia, will establish the MySDG Trust Fund to fund relevant projects.

He said the government will also launch the Sustainable Sukuk of at least US$ 1 billion to help the country become a “sustainable financial hub”.

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