KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 12 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said that the possibility of another special loan moratorium for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will be discussed with two related ministries.
His response comes following Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin’s recommendation on the grounds that the sector was still struggling to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Muhyiddin had yesterday said that the situation, coupled with the increase of the overnight policy rate (OPR) three times this year, meant that the industry would need more time to deal with any debt incurred.
He said that he had already sent a proposal to the government on the special moratorium.
“We will discuss. I can’t answer just like that. We will discuss.
“We will discuss with the entrepreneur development and cooperatives minister. We will discuss with the finance minister. We shall discuss first,” he said when asked by reporters for his comment here.
Ismail Sabri briefly spoke with reporters after launching the National Biotechnology Policy (2.0) at the World Trade Centre (WTC).
On his Facebook yesterday, Muhyiddin who is Ismail Sabri’s predecessor, said that the SME sector represents 96 per cent of the economy and that many citizens rely on it as their source of income, with almost half of Malaysia’s workforce being part of the said sector.
“Just like previous moratorium, the country’s banks will not incur losses either. Hence, there is no reason for the government not to discuss this matter with the financial institutions so they can introduce this special moratorium for SMEs,” he said.
On September 8, Bank Negara Malaysia’s (BNM) Monetary Policy Committee announced the highest and lowest corridor rates for the OPR, increasing them to 2.75 per cent and 2.25 per cent, respectively, which is the third increase this year after increases in May and July.
The move triggered public concern about the possibility of higher loan repayments.