Immediate COVID-19 Relief Programme rolled out to cushion financial impact on microentrepreneurs and SMEs
PUTRAJAYA, 7 JUNE 2020: Since the beginning of the Movement Control Order (MCO), the East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) has been extending support to help the rakyat in the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) to cushion the economic impact from the COVID-19 pandemic and adapt businesses to the ‘new normal’.
Among the key initiatives implemented include training and upskilling programmes for microentrepreneurs and the B40 communities in the Region to take their businesses and offerings online. In addition, ECERDC is also rolling out an immediate COVID-19 relief programme in partnership with the state governments of Pahang, Terengganu, Kelantan and Johor as well as strategic partners and financial institutions to cushion the financial impact of the global crisis.
“The wellbeing and welfare of the rakyat in ECER remains our utmost priority. Indeed, the COVID- 19 outbreak has severely affected everyone particularly the B40 communities in the Region as most of them have little exposure and knowledge about the digital economy,” said Encik Baidzawi Che Mat, Chief Executive Officer of ECERDC in a press conference after briefing Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of economy, YB Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed on the development in the East Coast Economic Region at the Pasir Mas Halal Park, today.
“The current situation has exposed the importance of going digital as many businesses turned to online business models to survive. We are stepping up our efforts to provide the rakyat with the necessary tools, skills and knowledge to adapt their businesses and even jobs to online models so that they can continue to earn an income during these difficult times.”
“ECERDC has assisted our entrepreneurs to sell their products in online platforms like Shopee and Lazada and our entrepreneurs have recorded increased sales even during MCO. We have also kick-started registration of entrepreneurs in five (5) districts in Kelantan (Tanah Merah, Kuala Krai, Pasir Mas, Machang and Ketereh) with Odamakan @ ECER; a trendy online food store where customers can order their favourite food and have them promptly delivered at their doorsteps. The entrepreneurs are home-based food entrepreneurs, restaurant owners and stall operators. Customers will have an extensive range of food varieties to choose in this marketplace,” he added.
Despite the challenges and the pandemic’s disruption to ECERDC’s overall economic progress, many entrepreneurs have adapted to the current situation. In fact, many of ECERDC’s empower ECER and entrepreneur ECER participants have now successfully used digital platforms to market their products and services.
Before MCO, most ECER entrepreneurs utilised social media to promote their products but with ECERDC’s assistance, they are now turning to digital economy, utilising domestic and international marketplace like Shopee and Lazada, existing delivery platforms like OdaMakan, GetRunner and Maybank’s Sama-Sama Lokal. Apart from establishing vendors, ECERDC also encourages entrepreneurs to become riders with these platforms.
So far 500 entrepreneurs are on Shopee and Lazada and ECERDC targets to help register 1,300 entrepreneurs by September. Meanwhile, entrepreneurs who have registered on delivery platforms now totalled 566 and ECERDC targets to register an additional 800 vendors by September.
ECERDC is also upskilling entrepreneurs by organising e-Commerce training in collaboration with Asia Centre of Excellence for Smart Technologies (ACES) and Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) to sustain and enhance their businesses. ECERDC also collaborates with aggregators such as eLokal to facilitate the sales of products via online platform (market place) for entrepreneurs with limited online / digital knowledge. At the same time, to increase awareness and further assist entrepreneurs to go digital, ECERDC, in collaboration with strategic partners, is organising knowledge sharing sessions in the form of webinars.
A recent workshop held in partnership with MDEC to help entrepreneurs become vendors and riders with existing delivery platforms was a success, with more than 200 participants attending the session. The workshop was the first of a four-series webinar sessions, which will run until early July.
Among the entrepreneurs who have benefited from the initiatives are Anwar Fathiyyudin bin Mohd Ariffin, 20, who now offers on-call telephone repair services to clients. In addition to this, Anwar also offers runner delivery service in the area Guchil, Kuala Krai. Another entrepreneur, restaurateur in Kampung Telaga, Mazurah Bt Abd Lah, 45, has transformed her business from a dine-in restaurant to an online pizza and western food delivery to keep her business running.
ECERDC’s quick pivot towards helping the rakyat go digital is possible because the foundation for the Region’s digital transformation had already been laid in the ECER Master Plan 2.0 (EMP2.0). Over the past two years, ECERDC has been spearheading the Region’s digital transformation through ACES, a collaboration between TUM International GMBH (TUM) of Germany and ECERDC. The MCO has accelerated the rakyat’s adoption of online platforms for businesses.
Supporting Rakyat And Investors In The New Normal
Besides helping the rakyat make the leap into digital, ECERDC is also rolling out immediate stop- gap measures to ease the financial impacts of the pandemic on micro entrepreneurs, SMEs and affected investors in the Region.
ECERDC has rolled out an immediate relief programme to ease the financial burden of micro entrepreneurs and SMEs in the Region. Under the Special Relief Facility (SRF) stimulus package, the Government fixed the interest rate for SMEs loans at only 3.5%. ECERDC, in collaboration with Agrobank and Maybank, will facilitate 50% of the interest rate to further assist micro entrepreneurs and SMEs developed by ECERDC.
ECERDC is also reaching out to a network of microentrepreneurs and assisting them to apply for the Rakyat Economic Stimulus Package (PRIHATIN) announced by the Prime Minister, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, working closely with partners such as Pertubuhan Kemajuan Sosial Malaysia (PKSM), Universiti Malaysia Kelantan (UMK), Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP), Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin (UniSZA), University Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) and Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM).
ECERDC and its strategic partners are working with these local microentrepreneurs, to help them register and formalise their businesses with the Companies Commission Malaysia to enable them to apply for government assistance.
“Moving forward, we will continue to identify opportunities to work together with all our partners to upskill our communities and address the digital divide in the region. We will also continue to work closely with our strategic partners to roll out more programmes and initiatives to help the rakyat in ECER recover from the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” concluded Encik Baidzawi Che Mat.
About ECER and ECERDC
The East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) is a statutory body established to spearhead the execution and implementation of the East Coast Economic Region (ECER) Master Plan. ECERDC plays a lead role in setting the directions, policies and strategies for the socio-economic development of ECER by promoting and facilitating investments into the Region.
ECER, which covers the states of Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang and the district of Mersing in Johor, is a rapidly transforming region that is steadily positioning itself as a distinctive, dynamic and competitive destination for investments.
Geographically, it covers a total area of over 66,000 sq km or 51% of Peninsular Malaysia. It is home to some 4.3 million people, or about 15% of the total national population. The economic growth in the Region is driven by six key economic clusters; namely Tourism, Oil, Gas & Petrochemical, Manufacturing, Agribusiness, Human Capital and Entrepreneurship Development as well as Logistics and Services. These clusters are supported by developments in Transportation, Infrastructure, Property and Environment to make the Region an ideal destination for business, investment and quality living.
empower ECER and entrepreneur ECER are human capital and entrepreneurship development programmes introduced by ECERDC to develop local communities and talent in ECER, to ensure that the rakyat are not left out of from the Region’s progress. ECERDC is currently revamping its programmes to ensure that the participants have the right capabilities to face the new normal.
For media inquiries, kindly contact:
Tengku Mazlinda Tengku Mahmood
Manager, Media Relations
East Coast Economic Region Development Council (ECERDC) Tel: 03-8885 0182 / 010-408 1085