The COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing lockdown has forced the closure of more than 30,000 SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) nationwide, the Parliament was told today.

According to Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Minister Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, 9,675 SMEs closed down their doors during the first phase of the Movement Control Order (MCO), from March 18 to June 9, 2020, while 22,794 businesses shuttered down from June to September, during the Recovery Movement Control Order (RMCO).

The highest figure was in August, when 17,800 SMEs ended their operations, the minister said in a parliamentary written reply today, reported Free Malaysia Today (FMT).

Wan Junaidi further said the majority of the businesses that folded were micro SMEs, with 79.5 percent and 70.8 percent closing during the MCO, and RMCO, respectively.

In the Budget 2021 unveiled last weej, Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz said the government will allocate RM150 million for training programmes and sales assistance, as well as digital equipment for 100,000 entrepreneurs to encourage adoption of e-commerce under the e-Commerce SME and Micro SME Campaign.

This is on top of the RM150 million allocated for the implementation of the Shop Malaysia Online initiative, together with the e-commerce platform to encourage online spending.

Peninsular Malaysia is back coronavirus partial lockdown, with all states except Perlis, Pahang, and Kelantan, put under the Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) until Dec 6, due to a spike in COVID-19 cases.

As of yesterday, a total of 40,209 have caught the disease, while 286 people have died from it.

Globally, the coronavirus has infected more than 50.7 million people, and killed over 1.2 million.

Source: FMT
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