Kuala Lumpur, 22 July 2020 – CIMB Group maintains its 2019-2020 commitment to provide RM15 billion funding for local small and medium enterprises (SMEs) while developing various programmes and initiatives to help them get back into the economy amid the challenges of COVID-19.
CIMB Islamic Bank Bhd chief executive officer (CEO) Ahmad Shahriman Mohd Shariff said the current challenges brought on in the blink of an eye by the pandemic were unexpected and unprecedented.
“Now we are talking about survival, how to revamp and adapt ourselves to a new environment. Hence everyone needs to work together to figure out various ways on how to work together in order to get out from these challenges,” he said in his opening remarks today at a webinar on financing facilities for SMEs post-Movement Control Order (MCO).
The webinar organised by Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) in collaboration with CIMB Bank Bhd carried the theme, “Weathering the Perfect Storm of COVID-19”.
It was reported that of the RM15 billion allocated for SMEs, over RM10.5 billion loans had been disbursed as of April.
Ahmad Shahriman noted that Malaysia suffered losses of about RM2.4 billion daily during the MCO and was expected to lose up to RM100 billion as at end of June this year.
“Suffice to say, everyone is impacted and the amount of losses the country is bearing is tremendous. But in every crisis, there is an opportunity and one of the opportunities we saw was in the acceleration of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (IR4.0) as everyone has to adapt to new ways of working,” he said.
He said there was also opportunity in terms of reinvestment from abroad, as money was being diverted from China to the rest of the world, “as investors are looking into new places to hedge their production lines and realigned supply chains”.
Meanwhile, session moderator, INCEIF School of Graduate & Professional Studies associate dean Prof Dr Eskandar Shah Mohd Rasid, noted that the government had been proactive in outlining various initiatives to weather the crisis and make the country stronger than ever.
He said the survival of a business was not only about having access to financing but also about SMEs embracing the toolkit and positioning themselves in a competitive world.
“The toolkit now is beyond financing; it also consists of embracing automation, e-commerce, payment gateways, human resource solution and other financing solutions.
“And the good news is that we do not have to reinvent the wheel but could get access to reliable partners to support businesses, which have already come out with more structured solutions to address some of the SME challenges,” he said.
Despite the current challenges faced by businesses, he said, there seemed to be a silver lining in terms of technology development, opportunity development in embracing the new market and ways of doing things.
In his keynote address, MIDA deputy CEO Ahmad Khairuddin Abdul Rahim said COVID-19 had created a perfect storm which elevated business risks and impacted entire supply chains, from raw material producers and manufacturers to transporters and end-users.
“We are fortunate that Malaysia has managed to contain the pandemic and we are now in the final phase of the MCO, which will hopefully end by Aug 31, 2020,” he said.
On the RM35 billion National Economic Recovery Plan (Penjana) unveiled on June 5, he said it was notable that the government had extended it to eligible sectors under the Domestic Investment Strategic Fund (DISF) to accelerate the shift of Malaysian-owned companies towards more competitiveness and participation in global supply chains.
He encouraged industries in the ecosystem of sectors classified as being of national importance and small scale to take up the DISF stimulus, of which the deadline is Dec 31, 2020.
“Don’t hesitate any longer and come to MIDA for more information. We look forward to assist eligible companies in applying for this fund,” he added.