Wan Junaidi was responding to recent complaints by several SMEs that that they had not yet received the assistance promised.

KUCHING: The Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives Ministry expects the delay in the disbursement of financial assistance for COVID-19-affected small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Sarawak to be resolved within two months.

Its minister, Datuk Seri Dr Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar, acknowledged there were SMEs which had not received aid despite their applications having been approved, as the documentation for fund withdrawal was yet to be completed.

"There were about 20 approved applicants (in Sarawak) which had not received the financial assistance, which is a small number compared to those which had gotten it. There was a delay due to the high number of applications received, but this is expected to be resolved within the next two months," he told reporters after visiting the drainage project at Kampung Tabuan Selipar Putus in Kuching.

He was responding to recent complaints by several SMEs that that they had not yet received the assistance promised under the the micro credit scheme, which is part of the Additional Prihatin SME Economic Stimulus Package (PRIHATIN Plus), although their applications had been green-lighted.

The RM10 billion PRIHATIN Plus package was announced by Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin in early April. The aim was to ease the financial burden of the SMEs and ensure that two-thirds of the nation's workforce would remain employed.

Under this package, the soft loan scheme for micro enterprises was extended to TEKUN Nasional with a maximum loan limit of RM10,000 for each enterprise. The interest-free loan scheme involved an additional allocation of RM200 million on top of the RM500 million already provided via Bank Simpanan Nasional's micro credit scheme.

Also, the government expanded the wage subsidy programme announced in the previous month by RM7.9 billion to RM13.8 billion, and announced a Special Prihatin Grant amounting to RM2.1 billion that was intended to benefit almost 700,000 micro enterprises.

Meanwhile, Wan Junaidi, who is also the Santubong member of parliament, said several alternatives would be explored to revive people-oriented projects that were abandoned in his constituency, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic struck.

He said many projects, among them valued not less than RM20 million, were halted when the Movement Control Order took effect on March 18 and he would discuss with the departments concerned to revive the projects, which would be a priority for the near future.

"Maybe in June we can revive these projects that have become a priority so that the lives of the people in the area would not be affected, but this also depends on our success in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic," he said.