What Does COVID-19 Mean For Malaysians? [Updated]
It’s official – the coronavirus (or COVID-19) is now a global pandemic. The situation in Malaysia took a bleaker turn in the past week, with the number of cases spiking and the restriction movement order kicking in.
Here’s what you need to how the virus is affecting us so far:
How many cases are there in Malaysia?
The number of cases swelled over the past few week in Malaysia. Here’s where we currently stand:
Last updated: June 5, 2020
What is the restricted movement order?
As part of a social distancing measure, the government announced a Movement Control Order (MCO) on until April 14. This was later extended until May 12 to continue efforts to reduce the spread of the virus.
In short, the restriction bans mass gatherings and overseas travel. All educational institutions, businesses and premises will be closed – except those involved in essential services. If you have any questions about the restriction, the National Security Council has released a FAQ here.
- perform an official duty
- visit a premise that is considered an ‘essential service’
- purchase, supply or deliver food or daily necessities
- seek healthcare or medical services
According to a senior minister, only one representative of a family can go out to purchase daily necessities. If you don’t follow these restrictions, you could face an RM1,000 fine, or up to six months’ jail, or both.
The second phase of the MCO starts from April 1 to 14, in which stricter rules will be enforced:
- Supermarkets and petrol stations to operate from 8am to 8pm
- Food delivery services to operate from 8am to 8pm
- Only one person allowed in a private vehicle, unless it’s an emergency
- Private vehicles (including taxis and e-hailing) allowed from 6am to 10pm
- Public transportation to operate from 6am to10 am and 5pm to10 pm
- Commercial vehicle transporting essential goods encouraged to operate from 7pm to 7am
- Restaurants, eateries and food delivery services to operate from 8am to 8pm
- All religious premises to remain closed
- Not permitted to travel more than 10km from residence when buying daily necessities, medicine or supplements
The third phase of the MCO starts from April 15 to April 28. The government has decided to enforce stricter regulations compared to the first two phases. Here’s what Malaysians can expect:
- Those caught defying the MCO will be detained and charged in court, instead of being issued an RM1,000 compound.
- The government will impose a price control scheme on essentials, starting April 15 to the end of the MCO. The price of twelve items will be monitored so that traders don’t take advantage of the period to increase prices arbitrarily. These items include chicken, eggs, cooking oil, and wheat flour.
The Ministry of Education (MOE) also announced these updates on April 15:
- School reopening. Schools will only be reopened when the MOE is sure that the situation has returned to normal. Parents will be informed at least two weeks in advance before schools are reopened.
- Cancelled UPSR and PT3. This year, the Ujian Penilaian Sekolah Rendah (UPSR) and Pentaksiran Tingkatan Tiga (PT3) exams will be canceled.
- SPM and SVM moved to 2021. The exams Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) and Sijil Vokasional Malaysia (SVM) exams will be moved to the first quarter of 2021.
- STPM delayed. For students sitting for Sijil Tinggi Persekolahan Malaysia (STPM), Semester 2 exams will be moved to August 2020, while Semester 3 exams will be moved to the first quarter of 2021.
- Higher education intake delays. Foundation, matriculation and diploma intakes will be delayed to July or August 2021, while degree programme intakes will be delayed to September or October 2021.
The country enters the fourth phase of the MCO from April 29 to May 12, in which some restrictions will be loosened:
- The government will allow eight more economic sectors to reopen, subject to health regulations.
- Students at tertiary institutions who are stuck on campus will be allowed to return home. The government is facilitating these students’ return.
- Individuals who are stuck in their hometowns and need to return to their homes in cities can apply for a travel pass via the Gerak Malaysia app or at the nearest police station.
- Those who need to go out to buy food or other necessities can now be accompanied by one other person from the same household.
In addition, some states, including Kedah, Selangor, Terengganu and Melaka, have cancelled Ramadan bazaars this year to avoid the spread of COVID-19.
On May 1, the Prime Minister announced that the government will enforce a conditional movement control order, allowing a number of businesses to resume operations and people to leave their homes. Under this conditional MCO (CMCO):
- Economic and social activities that do not involve mass gatherings would be allowed to open. Cinemas, night clubs, bazaars, and exhibitions will remain closed.
- The National Security Council will be publishing a list of businesses that are not allowed to open until the MCO is fully lifted.
- Outdoor sporting activities that do not involve body contact or spectators are allowed to happen. As an example, Malaysians are allowed to play outdoor badminton, tennis, or go running (in groups of less than 10).
- Restaurants are allowed to open. However, tables must be placed two metres apart and customers limited to the size of the tables.
- Schools and institutions of higher learning will still be closed.
- Interstate travel is still banned, except for those that have been trapped in dormitories and in their home towns since the beginning of the MCO.
- Religious gatherings are still not allowed.
However, some states are not fully complying with the conditional MCO.
On May 10, the government announced that the CMCO will be extended until June 9. All existing rules of the CMCO will continue to be enforced until then. During this period:
- Interstate travel is not allowed, except for certain situations (medical, emergencies or married couples who are living apart because of work).
- Returning to hometowns across state borders for Hari Raya is not allowed.
- Those in the same state can gather during festivals, but gathering must not exceed 20 people.
The prime minister announced that Malaysia will enter a Recovery MCO (RMCO) phase from June 10 to August 31. Under the RMCO, many restrictions of the MCO will be relaxed.
- Travel within states, unless the area is under an enhanced movement control order
- Hair cuts at barbers and salons
- Morning markets, night markets, food courts, food trucks and hawkers stalls
- Museum visits, self-service launderettes, fishing at ponds, film shoots
- Meetings and workshops, if they are following health and safety protocols
- Non-contact sports like bowling, badminton and archery
- Gymnasiums and indoor venues including snooker centres
- Domestic tourism activities
- Hari Raya Aidiladha celebrations will be allowed, subject to SOPs
- For religious activities in mosques and other houses of worship, restrictions will be relaxed to allow people to attend these services – the government will announce further guidelines soon
- Pubs, nightclubs, amusement parks, reflexology centers, karaoke centers, theme parks
- Mass religious gatherings or other activities that involve crowds
- Contact sports
- Sporting events that involve crowds
- Foreign travel
What businesses and premises are still operating?
The government announced on 10 April that some industries would be allowed to open during the MCO. The Ministry of International Trade and Industry later produced a list of industries involved in this loosening of the MCO guidelines.
These industries are:
- Aeronautical Industry
- Automotive Industry – limited to export of fully pre-installed units – CBUs, equipment and components, as well as after-sales services for example maintenance.
- Machinery and Equipment Industry
- Construction projects, including the Cement Industry; Iron and Steel:
- Projects where Contractors G1 – G2 are the main contractors
- Certified projects achieve 90% physical progress
- Tunnel work
- Maintenance works
- Slope work
- Emergency work included in the contractual agreement
- Maintenance, cleaning and drying of stagnant water, spraying insecticides on site to prevent breeding of Aedes mosquitoes and other pests
- Other works that can be dangerous if not completed
- Building project with 70 IBS score and above
- Construction projects with facilities / facilities for employees such as Centralized Workers’ Quarters or worker camps
- Science, professional and technical services including research and development (R&D), limited to:
- legal services;
- COVID19 related R&D activities;
- Lab testings for sectors that are allowed to operate only; and
- Oil & Gas related services.
- Social health services include registered traditional medicine (limited to registered Traditional and Complementary Medicine or TCM practitioners)
- Hardware store, Electrical & Electronics store and Optometry only in wholesale and retail
- Laundry service (full service and non- self service)
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Pos Malaysia is suspending its international mail and parcel services to all destination countries except China, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and the United Kingdom. This is effective March 30, 2020 until further notice.
Read Pos Malaysia’s announcement for more information.
What’s happening to the stock market?
The Bursa has sunk to its lowest in a decade, falling 20.52% since the start of the year.
Airlines were among some of the most battered stocks this year. AirAsia Group Bhd’s stock plummeted 63% since the start of January, while Malaysia Airport Holdings Bhd fell 39% in the same period.
Other blue chips were not spared. Public Bank, a stock that has been long-perceived to be relatively stable, fell 29% year to date. Even consumer stocks like Nestle fell 7%, while Carlsberg fell 34%.
The few gainers during the global virus outbreak include healthcare stocks, especially glove manufacturers. Since the start of the year, Top Glove Corp Bhd has rose 31%, Kossan Rubber Industries Bhd soared 16% and Hartalega rose 22%.
These numbers are accurate as of March 27, 2020.
How does COVID-19 affect workers?
News of tighter border controls led many Malaysians working in Singapore to head home to Johor Bahru so that they could collect their belongings and return to work in Singapore. Some workers have had to spend the night in MRT stations, although the Singaporean government and some employers are looking for ways to provide accommodation to Malaysian workers. The Johor state government hopes to reopen borders with the island state.
Back in Malaysia, with the restricted movement order in place, many employees are working from home. Employees who can’t perform their jobs remotely – or working in sectors badly affected by the virus outbreak – have been asked (or forced) to take unpaid leave. However, the Humans Resources Ministry has announced that workers are entitled to their salaries throughout the restriction movement order.The prime minister also announced a RM600 monthly cash assistance (up to six months) to help workers who are forced to take unpaid leave.
Which banks are offering loan repayments moratorium?
Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) has put a six-month moratorium on the repayment of personal loans and financing. This means that all banks will offer an automatic postponement of loan payments of six months.
- Eligibility. Only applies to ringgit-denominated loans that are not in default exceeding 90 days as at April 1. Does not apply to credit card debt.
- Automatic. You do not have to apply for this, as it is automatic. If you do not want to defer your loan payment, contact your bank.
- Period. Until September 30, 2020.
- Interest payments. No late payment interest or charges, but your interest charges will accrue.
- Credit score. This will not be classified under CCRIS as a loan deferment.
It’s important to note that your interest will still accrue during the moratorium period. In addition, interest charges for some loans may be compounded.
But compounding interest/profit does not apply to Islamic financing facilities, as per Shariah law. Many banks have also stepped forward to say that the interest on their loans during the moratorium will not compound:
|CIMB Bank||Non-compounding for ASB financing, home financing, auto financing and personal financing and loans/financings and industrial hire purchase|
|Citi Malaysia||Non-compounding for mortgage and personal loans|
|Hong Leong Bank||Non-compounding|
|Maybank||Non-compounding for individuals, SMEs and non-retail and corporate customer loan facilities|
|Public Bank||Non-compounding for individual and business customers|
|OCBC Bank||Non-compounding for mortgages and SME loans/financing|
Prior to BNM’s announcement, banks have also declared other types of assistance for affected customers:
|Affin Bank and Affin Islamic Bank||March 19||● Retail: restructuring and rescheduling of financing facilities|
● SME: special relief fund
|Agrobank||March 19||SME: restructuring and rescheduling of financing facilities|
|Alliance Bank||February 13||● Loan restructuring and rescheduling for up to six months|
● Waiver of late charges for loans or financing
|AmBank||March 23||SME: Special Relief Facility (financing of up to RM1 million)|
|Bank Islam||February 11||● Retail/SME: monthly instalment payments of financing of up to six months|
|CIMB Bank and CIMB Islamic Bank||March 18||● Retail: restructuring and rescheduling financing programmes|
● SME: Special Relief Facility (financing of up to RM1 million)
|Hong Leong Bank and Hong Leong Islamic Bank||March 19||● Retail/SME: restructuring and rescheduling loans/financing will be considered|
● SME: Special Relief Facility (financing of up to RM1 million)
Bank and HSBC Amanah
|March 18||SME: extension of trade loans/financing payment period for 30 days|
|Maybank and Maybank Islamic||February 11||Retail/SME: restructuring and rescheduling of financing|
|MBSB Bank||March 19||● Retail: restructuring and rescheduling of financing|
● SME: can apply for financing restructuring and rescheduling
|Public Bank and Public Islamic Bank||March 19||● Retail/SME: can apply for financing restructuring and rescheduling|
|OCBC Bank and OCBC Al Amin Bank||February 13||Retail/SME: provide relevant assistance to affected parties on a case-to-case basis|
|RHB Bank and RHB Islamic Bank||March 18||Retail/SME: restructuring and rescheduling of financing|
|SME Bank||March 16||● SME: can apply for temporary relief|
● SME: Special Relief Facility (financing of up to RM1 million)
|Standard Chartered and Standard Chartered Saadiq||February 13||SME: can apply for interest-only payment option|
To apply for a moratorium, restructuring or rescheduling of your loans, contact your bank by phone or visit their respective websites.
Which insurance companies and takaful operators provide COVID-19 coverage or financial aid?
All insurance companies and takaful operators under the Life Insurance Association of Malaysia (LIAM) and Malaysian Takaful Association (MTA) have confirmed that they will provide hospitalisation and treatment coverage for COVID-19 – but your policy may differ in terms of specific benefits, terms and conditions.
Here are the list of LIAM insurance and takaful operators providing COVID-19 coverage:
- AIA Bhd
- Allianz Life Insurance Malaysia Berhad
- AmMetLife Insurance Berhad
- AXA AFFIN Life Insurance Berhad
- Etiqa Life Insurance Berhad
- Gibraltar BSN Life Berhad
- Great Eastern Life Assurance (Malaysia) Berhad
- Hannover Rueck SE, Malaysian Branch
- Hong Leong Assurance Berhad
- Malaysian Life Reinsurance Group Berhad
- Manulife Insurance Berhad
- MCIS Insurance Berhad
- Prudential Assurance Malaysia Berhad
- Sun Life Malaysia Assurance Berhad
- Tokio Marine Life Insurance Malaysia Bhd.
- Zurich Life Insurance Malaysia Berhad
These insurance/takaful providers are also offering additional coverage for COVID-19, at no extra cost:
|AIA||New and existing individual Life, Family Takaful and Flex PA customers||● Hospitalisation benefit of RM200 per day up to 30 days|
● Death benefit of RM10,000
|Doctor, nurse or hospital staff||● RM1,000 inconvenience allowance if diagnosed with COVID-19 when carrying out duties|
● RM10,000 death benefit
|June 30, or when RM2 mill fund is fully disbursed|
|Allianz||Policyholders and immediate family members||● Hospitalisation benefit of RM200 per day|
● Death benefit of RM20,000
|AmMetLife||Individual and group policyholders||● Death benefit of RM6,000||April 30|
|MOH-registered frontline medical worker, regardless of AmMetLife coverage status||● Death benefit of RM6,000||April 30|
|AXA Affin Life Insurance||All medical policies with hospitalisation Benefit rider||● Cash payment equivalent to 14 days of hospitalisation benefit upon diagnosis|
● One-time cash of RM3,000 to the immediate family of policyholder upon diagnosis
● A lump-sum of RM10,000 if the policyholder is isolated for COVID-19 while travelling to the Hubei, Zhejiang and Jiangsu province of China
|Etiqa||Existing policyholders||● RM5,000 payout upon diagnosis||June 30|
|Great Eastern||Life assured policyholders and their immediate family members (spouse and children up to age 18)||● Death benefit of RM20,000|
● Hospitalisation benefit of RM200 per day up to 60 days
|December 31, or until exhaustion of RM1 mill financial assistance|
|Hong Leong Assurance||New and existing customers with medical coverage||● Hospitalisation benefit of RM200 per day up to 30 days||June 30|
|Manulife||Existing policyholder||● Hospitalisation benefit of RM200 per day up to 30 days|
● Death benefit of RM10,000 (additional RM5,000 if policyholder is a frontline medical staff)
|MCIS Insurance||Existing individual policyholders||● RM5,000 payout upon diagnosis|
● Death benefit of RM10,000
|Prudential||Existing customer||● Hospitalisation cash relief of RM1,000|
● Death benefit of RM10,000
|Existing customer who registers in Pulse||● Hospitalisation cash relief of RM2,000|
● Death benefit of RM20,000
|Pulse user (non-customer) who registers in Pulse||● Hospitalisation cash relief of RM1,000||December 31|
|Sun Life Malaysia||Policyholders of eligible individual hospital and surgical products||● Hospitalisation benefit of RM100 per day||June 30|
|Tokio Marine||Existing individual life policyholders and their immediate family members (spouse and children up to age 21)||● Death benefit of RM10,000 (additional RM10,000 if policy holder is a frontline medical staff)|
● Hospitalisation benefit of RM200 per day up to 30 days
What’s in the COVID-19 economic stimulus package for households?
The prime minister announced PRIHATIN Rakyat, an RM250 billion economic package to help cushion COVID-19’s economic impact. Here’s how it will affect you:
Insurance and takaful
- An RM8 million fund will be set up by insurance and takaful providers to cover the screening costs at private hospitals or laboratories for policyholders, worth up to RM300
Doctors, nurses and other medical staff
- Increase of monthly allowance from RM400 to RM600 starting April 1
Police, army, customs, RELA and other involved in carrying out MCO
- RM200 monthly allowance starting April 1 until the end of the COVID-19 pandemic
Cash handouts for households
- RM1,600 for households earning RM4,000 a month and below
- RM1,000 for households earning between RM4,001 and RM8,000 a month
- RM800 for singles aged 21 and above who earn RM2,000 a month and below
- RM500 for singles aged 21 and above who earn between RM2,001 and RM4,000
Higher education students (including matriculation, community college, polytechnic, public universities and private universities)
- RM200 one-off payment
- PTPK loans: deferment of six months, from April 1 to September 30
- Those under MySalam can claim RM50 per day for 14 days if receiving hospital treatment for COVID-19 or those under quarantine
- Six-month rent exemption for PPR residents
Private Retirement Scheme (PRS)
- Withdrawal of up to RM1,500 from Account B without incurring penalties from April to December 2020
- Six-month rent exemption for government-owned buildings, including school canteens, day-care centres, and convenience stores
Electricity bill discount:
- For residents using up to 600 kWH, applicable for six months from April
- 50% discount for electricity usage below 200 kWH
- 25% discount for electricity usage between 201 kWH and 300 kWH
- 15% discount for electricity usage between 301 kWH and 600 kWH
- Free internet for all telecommunication service customers from April 1 until the end of MCO
- RM500 one-off payment to civil servants grade 56 and below (include those on contract) in April
- RM500 one-off payment in April
- RM500 one-off payment in April
The Prime Minister announced PENJANA (Pelan Jana Semula Ekonomi Negara), an RM35 billion package to empower people, propel businesses and stimulate the economy. Here’s how it will affect you:
- The government will credit RM50 into users’ e-wallets, which will be matched by another RM50 worth of vouchers, cashback and discounts by e-wallet operators.
- Introduction of the MY30 programme, in which commuters can pay RM30 a month for an unlimited public transportation travel pass under Prasarana in the Klang Valley.
- 300,000 single mothers and OKU individuals who are eligible will receive a one-off aid of RM300 before Hari Raya Aidiladha.
- Double allocation to PEKA B40 Programme, to provide health screening, medical device assitance, cancer treatment incentives and health transportation subsidies for the B40 group
- E-vouchers of RM800 per household for online nanny services will be provided, to be utilised from now until August 31, 2020.
- Increase in income tax relief for parents on childcare services expenses to RM 3,000 for Year of Assessment 2020 and 2021.
- The government will cooperate with telcos to provide 1GB of free internet connectivity from 8am to 6pm to access education-related websites and video conferencing applications, until the end of the year.
- Free access to government websites.
- Those who have lost their jobs and want to increase their skills can claim up to RM4,000 in training allowance, even if they do not contribute to the Employment Insurance System.
- Full exemption of tourism tax from July 1, 2020 until June 30, 2021. Income tax exemptions of up to RM1,000 for local travel expenses will also be extended until the end of the year.
- Reintroduction of the Home Ownership Campaign – stamp duty exemption on the transfer of property and loan agreement for home purchases between RM300,000 and RM2.5mil (June 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021).
- Real property gains tax (RPGT) exemption for Malaysians for disposal of up to three properties from June 1, 2020 to December 31, 2021.
Work from home incentives
- Individual income tax exemption of up to RM5,000 to employees who receive a handphone, notebook or tablet from their employer (effective July 1, 2020).
- Special individual income tax relief of up to RM2,500 on handphone, notebook and tablet purchases (effective June 1, 2020).
What’s in the COVID-19 economic stimulus package for SMEs?
Easing cashflow (effective April until September)
- Allow deferment of monthly income tax instalment payments for businesses in the tourism sector.
- Allow affected companies to revise their profit estimates for 2020 with respect to monthly income tax instalment payments without penalty.
- Provide 15% discount in monthly electricity bills to hotels, travel agencies, airlines, shopping malls, conventions and exhibitions centres.
- Exempt Human Resource Development Fund (HRDF) levies for hotels and travel related companies.
- Exempt the 6% service tax for hotels (March to August).
- To provide a Special Relief Facility (SRF) worth RM2 billion in the form of working capital for SMEs at 3.75% interest rate.
- Bank Simpanan Nasional (BSN) will allocate RM200 million in microcredit facility offering an interest rate of 4% to affected businesses.
- All banks must provide financial relief in the form of payment moratorium.
- Increase the size of the SRF by to RM5 billion, and reduce the interest rate to 3.5%.
- Increase the size of the All Economic Sector Facility fund RM6.8 billion.
- Provide additional RM500 million under the Micro Credit Scheme (total of RM700 million) for soft loans at 2% interest rate without collateral; loan eligibility requirements relaxed to six months of operation; maximum financing amount increased to RM75,000.
- BizMula-i and BizWanita-i schemes for financing up to RM300,000 under the Credit Guarantee Malaysia Berhad (CGC), for SMEs with business records of less than four years.
- Syarikat Jaminan Pembiayaan Perniagaan (SJPP) to provide RM5 billion worth of guarantees.
Assisting cashflow for employers
- Employer Advisory Services programme under EPF: options for deferring payments, restructuring and rescheduling of employers’ contributions.
- Exempt payment for HRDF for six months.
- Postponement of income tax instalment payments to all SMEs for three months beginning April 1.
- Banking institutions to offer a 6-month moratorium.
- Wage Subsidy Programme: wage subsidy of RM600 to employers for three months to retain their employees earning RM4,000 and below.
Wage Subsidy Programme
- Expanded to RM13.8 billion, up from RM5.9 billion from March 27 announcement.
- Covers companies who are registered with Companies Commission of Malaysia (SSM) prior to January 1 and PERKESO. Companies who opt in this scheme must retain employees for at least six months. The scheme covers Malaysian employees earning RM4,000 and below:
- Companies with more than 200 employees – RM600 per employee
- Companies with 76 to 200 employees – RM800 per employee
- Companies with 1 to 75 employees – RM1,200 per employee
Grants and financing
- Creation of a RM2.1bil PRIHATIN Special Grant: provide a special grant of RM3,000 to each micro SME. SMEs must register with the Inland Revenue Board (IRB) to enjoy this facility.
- Abolish the 2% interest rate for the RM500mil Micro Credit Scheme under Bank Simpanan Nasional. The micro loan scheme for micro businesses is also extended to Tekun Nasional at a maximum of RM10,000 per company at 0% interest. Applicants can only choose one of these schemes.
- Licensed money-lending organisations encouraged to provide six-month moratorium.
- Encourage negotiations between employers and employees on employment terms, which include wage cuts and unpaid leave, during the MCO.
- For companies with financial year ending between September 30 and December 2019, a three-month-extension to submit financial statements from the final day of MCO.
- Tax deductions for owners of private premises if they reduce rental to SME tenants by at least 30% during the MCO and three months after it ends.
- Automatic moratorium of 30 days to allow companies to submit statutory declatrations to SSM.
Extension of the wage subsidy programme
- Extension of three more months
- Set at RM600 per worker, up to 200 workers in a company
- For workers in sectors that were not allowed to operate during the CMCO, and were asked to go on unpaid leave, employers can request a wage subsidy, on the condition that the worker receives the subsidy directly
- RM800 a month for hiring an unemployed worker under the age of 40, per hire
- RM1,000 a month for hiring an unemployed worker who is 40 and above or have special needs, per hire
- These incentives will last for 6 months
- RM600 incentive a month to employers who provide apprenticeships to fresh graduates
- The government will allocate RM50 million in matching grants for gig economy platforms who contribute for their gig workers towards PERKESO’s employment injury scheme of up to RM162 and EPF’s i-Saraan contribution of up to RM250 yearly
- Allocation of RM25 million to MDEC’s Global Online Workforce (GLOW), aimed at educating Malaysians to generate online income
E-commerce and digitisation
- The government will collaborate with e-commerce platforms to co-fund e-vouchers to encourage spending on products from local retailers
- Provide grants and loans to eligible enterprises for adoption or subscription of digitalisation services
- PENJANA SME financing: The banking sector will offer an additional RM2 billion in funding to assist SMEs impacted by COVID-19 at a concession rate of 3.5%.
- PENJANA microfinancing: aggregated approved financing of up to RM50,000 per enterprise at a subsidised interest rate of 3.5%.
- PENJANA tourism financing: RM1 billion financing facility for transformation initiatives by SMEs in the tourism sector.
- Bumiputera RM500 million financial assistance for Bumiputera-owned, shariah compliant businesses.
Tax exemptions, deductions and rebates
- Tax deduction for employers who implement Flexible Work Arrangements (FWAs) or enhance existing FWAs (effective July 1, 2020)
- Tax exemption of 100% for locally assembled cars and 50% for imported cars from June 15 to December 31
- Tax relief for businesses for expenses related to COVID-19 testing and purchasing of PPE and thermal scanners
- For SMEs that are formed and operating between July 1, 2020 and December 31, 2021, there will be an income tax rebate of up to RM20,000 for each year for the first three years of assessment
- Stamp duty exemptions for SMEs mergers or acquisitions of transactions from July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021
- One-off grant of RM5,000 to childcare centres to comply with government SOPs
What other types of financial aid are available for Malaysians affected by the outbreak?
The government has announced these measures to help Malaysians affected by the outbreak:
|Income tax deadline extended by two months||All tax paying Malaysians||Until June 30|
|Electricity bill discount of 2%||Domestic users, as well as those in commercial, industrial and agriculture sectors||April 30 – September 30|
|PTPTN loan repayment deferment||PTPTN loan holders||Until September 30|
|EPF withdrawal of up to RM500 from Account 2||EPF members under 55||Until March 2021|
|RM600 a month||Workers forced to take unpaid leave from March 1 or contributors to the employee insurance scheme (EIS) earning below RM4,000 a month||Up to six months|
|RM100 a day under Bantuan Khas COVID-19||– Working Malaysians who lost their source of income or were not paid during the Observation and Surveillance Order|
– Working Malaysians who lost their source of income or were not paid while receiving hospital treatment for COVID-19
|RM500 zakat from Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council||Each asnaf person (those eligible to receive zakat) will receive RM500 in early April||April|
|RM200 to RM500 from Lembaga Zakat Selangor||Muslim applicants; Malaysian citizens or PR holders who have been staying in Selangor for at least three months; household income of below RM4,360; whose income was affected or lost due to the outbreak||April 6|
How to apply for Bantuan Khas COVID-19
Eligible Malaysians can seek financial assistance of RM100 a day through the COVID-19 fund under the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA). Here’s how you apply for it.
- Working Malaysians who lost their source of income or were not paid during the Observation and Surveillance Order
- Working Malaysians who lost their source of income or were not paid while receiving hospital treatment for COVID-19
How to apply
- Download and fill in these application forms from NADMA:
- Borang Permohonan Bantuan Khas Covid19 (Attachment A)
- Borang Akuan Kehilangan Pendapatan (Attachment B)
- Surat Perwakilan Kuasa Kepada Waris (Attachment C) *if you do not have a bank account
- Attach these documents in your application:
- IC (certified copy)
- Ministry of Health documents (certified copies) – a copy of Borang Perintah Pengawasan Dan Pemerhatian Bagi Kontak Covid-19 if you are under quarantine; or a medical certificate provided by your hospital if you are undergoing treatment for COVID-19
- Mail your completed application to:
Agensi Pengurusan Bencana Negara (NADMA)
Jabatan Perdana Menteri
Aras 7, Blok D5, Kompleks D
Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan
(u.p. : Sekretariat KWABBN)
If you have been approved, the financial assistance will be electronically transferred to you 30 days from the date of your application.
How can you manage your budget during this time?
The next few weeks will be rough sailing for many Malaysians. On the personal finance side, now’s the time to review your contingency plan and look at your budget.
If you have been forced to go on unpaid leave, consider if (and how) you can afford to ride out the next two weeks or more. If you don’t have any emergency savings, try to cut out non-essential expenses – this will help stretch your budget for longer, until you can get back to work.
Reach out to your bank if you’re having trouble with loan repayments. Many banks have declared a temporary loan deferment for affected customers. Depending on your bank, you may be able to restructure or reschedule your loan. You can also consider applying for government financial aid or withdrawing from your EPF (but you should only do so if it’s an emergency – otherwise, you’d be taking out from your retirement savings).
If you already have a financial safety net in place, that’s great. Continue monitoring your budget and take steps to reduce your spending if needed. We’re not sure yet what the full effects of the coronavirus will be on our economy, so keeping your emergency fund in place could help cushion you if things get bad.
And if you can do so, consider giving financial help to those who need them. Organisations like Mercy Malaysia and World Vision Malaysia have set up specific funds in response to the pandemic, while platforms like #Kitajagakita offers resources for those who want to volunteer or offer financial help.
In the meantime, stay home and stay safe.
This article was first published on February 14, 2020 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.
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