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SMEs, micro enterprises to gain new lease of life through PENJANA - MDEC

KUALA LUMPUR: The National Economic Recovery Plan (PENJANA) will give a new lease of life to more local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and micro businesses to expand within the digital economy ecosystem through training that will be provided, said the Malaysia Digital economy Corporation (MDEC).

Chief executive officer Surina Shukri said the government had given emphasis on digital measures to ensure their business could withstand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The special allocation to digitalise SMEs and micro-enterprises are critical, as the e-commerce sector is expected to contribute a 20 per cent growth this year to the digital economy under the National e-Commerce Strategic Roadmap despite the new norm brought about by COVID-19," she said in a statement yesterday.

Surina expressed confidence that the target would be achieved due to the implementation of the PENJANA package announced yesterday by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

She said the package gave a strong focus on enhancing the robustness of the country's digital economy and hence assisting people and businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Under PENJANA, the government is providing MDEC with RM25 million for the Global Online Workforce (GLOW) programme to train Malaysians to earn income from serving international clients while working online from home.

Surina called the RM25 million allocation as the "right initiative for the present time."

Moreover, MDEC has been jointly tasked with MYCreative Ventures and the private sector to devise a recovery plan for the arts, culture, entertainment, events and exhibition sector, which was disrupted following the Movement Control Order effective March 18. The allocation of RM225 million for this includes a RM35 million Digital Content Fund under MDEC for projects in the creative sector with a focus on animation and visual effects.

MDEC said it would also support other government agencies to ensure the success of the RM70 million "Shop Malaysia Online" campaign to encourage online spending on products from local retailers. The government plans to collaborate with e-commerce platforms to co-fund digital discount vouchers via this campaign.

The government is also assisting and incentivising SMEs and mid-tier companies to digitalise their operations and trade channels by continuing to provide grants and loans under programmes such as the RM100 million SME Digitalisation Matching Grant (in partnership with telecommunication companies), RM500 million SME Technology Transformation Fund (application to open next month) and RM100 million Smart Automation Grant.

-- BERNAMA